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IS/IarcH to Saratoga 

March to Saratoga 

General Burgoyne and the American Campaign 



New York Oxford University Press 1963 

Copyright 1963 by Oxford University Press, Inc. 

Library o Congress Catalogue Card Number: 63-12550 

Printed in the United States of America 

In grateful memory 


Sir George and Lady Langton 

wliose friendsliip sustained me 



Lieutenant General John Burgoyne's "Thoughts for 
Conducting the War from the Side of Canada" de- 
veloped an idea that did not originate with that of- 
ficer. As early as 1642, the French in Canada had ap- 
preciated the tactical value of the Champlain-Hudson 
Pass through the Appalachian mountain barrier and 
had commenced the building of a chain of forts to 
the south from the St. Lawrence outlet of Lake 
Champlain. The ultimate French fort was at Ticon- 
deroga, which Burgoyne was to capture from its rebel 
owners in July 1777. In the year 1666 a tactical plan 
brought European soldiers marching from "the side 
of Canada" through the natural gap made by the 
lake and river valley in an invasion that was a North 
American projection of European rivalries. During 
the next century and a half, when European wars, 
were fought in the New World, the Hudson-Cham- 
plain Valley was the classic invasion route between 
the rich coastal plain of the Atlantic seaboard and the 
arterial St. Lawrence and Great Lakes, giving access 
to the heart of the continent. The Hudson-Champlain 

Pass ranks with the great invasion routes of the 
world: the Belfort Gap, the Low Countries, the Great 
Grass Bridge out of Asia, and the Khyber Pass. Its 
defiles and crossroads at Ticonderoga and West Point 
stand with Gibraltar and Verdun. 

In planning either for invasion or defense, the 
minds of rulers and their cabinets and generals in- 
variably turn to the old routes. This is not for want 
of boldness or imagination, but because these are 
the only roads for the supply and transport of in- 
vasion armies, or for effective defense by forts and 
forces. The Mongol Horde marched where their 
ponies could graze, and in the nineteenth century 
armies advanced along the newly developed rail- 
roads which followed the easiest way through the 
mountains and along the rivers, while today an army 
is geared to the requirements of the airplane, the 
helicopter, and the parachute drop zone. In 1777 
General Burgoyne's "thoughts" were dictated by the 
requirements of his transport and supply. The valid- 
ity of these thoughts rested on the fact that Lake 
Champlain, the Hudson, and the westward-branch- 
ing Mohawk River, in his time and given his transport 
of boats and horse-drawn carts, constituted the only 
clear way through the mountain barrier dividing the 
rebellious colonies on the Atlantic seaboard and the 
loyal colony of Canada on the St. Lawrence. The 
Hudson-Champlain Pass was the short crossbar that 
marked the letter "A" across the geography of British 
North America, making it the controlling factor in the 
alphabet of British colonial aspiration. 

This book is the story of John Burgoyne and his 
"thoughts," and of the stalwart men and women who 
had a part in putting those thoughts into action along 
the old invasion route. 

General Burgoyne himself, and many of his com- 
rades-in-arms, helped in the writing of this story 
through their own accounts of their adventures and 
of what befell as they made their way up Lake 
Champlain, across the long portage, and along the 
southward-flowing Hudson River. Their efforts are 
appreciated on every page and in every episode re- 
lated in the book; their written work is acknowledged 
in the Book List (p. 290) , 

My appreciation is sincere and my thanks are due 
to those who introduced me to the "contemporary 
sources" mentioned above, and who by their research, 
generously shared, into the conditions and events of 
the exciting year of 1777, provided the basis for much 
of this book. I am ever in the debt of the Fort Ticon- 
deroga Museum, its first director, Stephen H. P. Pell, 
and its present president, John H. G. Pell, for a life- 
time of interest and inspiration engendered in me by 
that place. I wish particularly to thank Eleanor Mur- 
ray, of Fort Ticonderoga, for giving me of her re- 
search and knowledge in connection with the troops 
under General Burgoyne. Information on the Tory 
troops and the Loyalist corps was generously pro- 
vided by Henry I. Shaw of the Company of Military 
Collectors & Historians. Through the courtesy of the 
National Park Service, operating the Saratoga Na- 

tional Historical Park, I obtained a listing of the 
American units of General Gates's army, for which I 
am grateful. With unfailing generosity, Mrs. John 
Nicholas Brown, of Providence, Rhode Island, per- 
mitted an unrestricted selection of military prints 
from her great collection, adding greatly to the in- 
terest of my book and increasing an already sub- 
stantial indebtedness which it gives me pleasure to 

In conclusion, I wish to mention by name some 
few of the many persons who have helped me in 
many divers ways: W. Gillette Bird, John R. Cuneo, 
John J. Demers, Dr. Alfred Emerson, Mrs. Lorentz 
Hansen, Richard B. Harrington, Edward Mann, Rol- 
land Miner, Mrs. Doris Morton, Robert E. Mulligan 
(Senior and Junior), J. Y. Shimoda, Miss Claribel 
Snody, and Earl Stott. 

For my wife, Harriette Jansen Bird, who typed 
and otherwise worked with me on the manuscript, 
I have no adequate word of praise; only, in retro- 
spect, wonder. 

Huletts Landing, New York H. B. 

December 1962 


i The New Year 1777 3 

2 On Your Markers; Fall In! 18 

3 On the Left! At the Double! March! 29 

4 A Regiment of Foot 44 
5 Major Skene's Great Stone House 58 

6 The Iroquois Wolf 71 
7 The Face of Gentleman Johnny 84 

8 The Restless Winds of August 99 
9 The Hill Overlooking the Walloomsac 112 
10 The Road Beside the Walloomsac 
11 At Headquarters 136 

A " 1 4 8 

13 Reconnaissance 160 

14 To the Sound of the Guns 175 

15 Action Front! 187 

16 Muffled Drums 198 

17 General Fraser Eats Breakfast 212 

18 No Dinner for the General 225 

19 Prisoners of Hope 239 
20 The Highland Lament 251 
. The World Turned Upside Down 263 

Epilogue 273 

Chronology 277 

British and German Troops 279 

The American Army 286 

Book List 290 

Index 295 



Lieutenant General John Burgoyne 
Major General Baron von Riedesel 

Brigadier General Simon Fraser 
Burgoyne's Indian Conference on the Bouquet River 

German Cartoon of an American Soldier 

An American Soldier of the Continental Line 

Burgoyne's Surrender at Saratoga, 17 October 1777 

British Officer with Light Infantry Cap 

Cartoon of a Hessian Grenadier 

Major General Horatio Gates 

Major General Benedict Arnold 


General Burgoyne's Expedition, 

6 July-i/ October 1777 

page 30 

Colonel Breymann's Battle along the road to 

Bennington, Vermont, 16 August 1777 

page 98 

Colonel Baum's Battle of the Walloomsac, 

16 August 1777 

page 98 

First Battle of Freeman's Farm, Saratoga, New York, 

19 September 1777 

page 174 

Second Battle of Freeman's Farm, Saratoga, 

7 October 1777 

page 224 

March, to Saratoga 


The New Year 


The music of the processional died away quickly, as 
if fleeing into the darkest and highest reaches of the 
great vault of the cathedral. In its wake a chilled 
hush swept down the long nave to settle on the 
shoulders of the packed congregation; some shivered. 

No head turned to look, as the eight forlorn peni- 
tents began their slow walk to the distant altar rail, 
where the magnificence of the archbishop of Canada, 
robed in his richest garments, awaited their approach. 
In almost military array, the eight lined themselves 
with bowed heads outside the altar rail, to supplicate 
the mercy of the Church under whose anathema they 
had existed for almost a year. Around the neck of 
each man hung a length of navy rope, tied into a 
hangman's noose. The rope signified the secular 
crime of treason, to be expiated or forgiven on this 
first anniversary of 31 December 1775. 

The sentences of the eight men would be forgiven 
only when the ceremonies of Church and State had 
been completed, and the full measure of warning 
drawn from the spectacle of Public Penance. On this 


last day of 1776, the British government of this Ca- 
nadian colony could afford to be magnanimous to 
traitors. That a Protestant king chose to punish and 
forgive his French Canadian subjects through their 
own Roman Catholic archbishop was due entirely to 
the good sense, political acumen, and loyal efforts of 
the governor general of Canada, Guy Carleton. 

Twelve months earlier, on 31 December 1775, the 
eight penitents now standing humbled before the 
altar rail had joined the American rebel army in 
the assault on the City of Quebec. That attack by the 
heretical Puritan "Bostonais" had been the high- 
water mark of the attempt by the thirteen united 
American colonies to wrench Canada from her politi- 
cal loyalty to Britain. 

General Guy Carleton had stood firm, on that night 
of the swirling blizzard, and Fortune as well as the 
prayers of the archbishop had favored his defense of 
Quebec. As the defense of the western barricade had 
wavered in the face of attack, a sailor had clapped a 
lighted linstock onto the breech of a primed and 
loaded cannon. The blast of grapeshot had ended the 
life of the American general, Richard Montgomery, 
and with his death, the will of his followers. At the 
eastern barricade a musket shot had struck the leg 
of Brigadier General Benedict Arnold, throwing him, 
helpless, into the snow. He was carried back out of 
the line of fire by his ardent followers (Arnold 
seemed always to inspire ardor when he led men into 
battle). Behind an angle of a building, Colonel 
Daniel Morgan rallied Arnold's soldiers and led them 


in vengeance against the barricade held by the British 
and the Canadians. In the melee of the snowy night, 
Dan Morgan got himself "cooped" in a warehouse by 
General Carleton's sortie, and in the morning gave 
himself up a prisoner. 

As Carleton had beaten back the assault of Mont- 
gomery and Arnold and Morgan during the first hours 
of 31 December 1775, so he had withstood the 
winter-long investment of Quebec, the last place in 
all of Canada firmly under his viceregal suzerainty. 
In May 1776 reinforcements for Carleton came out 
from England, and with the British fleet of men-of- 
war and transports came Major General John Bur- 
goyne, "Gentleman Johnny," as he was referred to 
with affection by his soldiers. In the same convoy 
came Major General Baron Friederich Adolf von Bie- 
desel, like Burgoyne a cavalry colonel of experience 
and capability. 

With eight fresh regiments of good British infantry 
and the competent battalions of Brunswickers and 
Hesse-Hanauers hired for the occasion, General Guy 
Carleton soon drove the tardily reinforced Americans 
out of the St. Lawrence Valley. At the foot of Lake 
Champlain, Carleton was forced to pause through 
the high summer months in order to build a battle 
fleet before pushing south along the classic invasion 
route up Lake Champlain and Lake George, down 
the Hudson River to Albany, and thence to the At- 
lantic Ocean at New York. By the end of October 
1776 Carleton had gained naval command of Lake 
Champlain, and stood with part of his army before 


the walls of Fort Ticonderoga. There, under the grid- 
iron flag of rebellion, General Horatio Gates and 
Benedict Arnold (limping now) awaited him. 

Burgoyne wished to give spur to the British army 
and ride roughshod over the American rabble, but 
Carleton held him back. The latter had a staff officer's 
eye to his supply line, and many years of experience 
with the northern seasons. Carleton knew the con- 
trary temper of the autumn winds and the insidious 
forming of the ice, either of which could trap an in- 
cautious army caught up the lake too far from its 
supply base. Then, too, Carleton did not share the 
contempt of his second in command for the American 
soldier and for the strategic fort at Ticonderoga which 
he held. The season was advanced and the enemy 
stanch. Early in November Carleton withdrew down 
Lake Champlain, made his fleet secure against the 
ice, and sent his army into winter quarters. Ever rest- 
less, ever active, Burgoyne sailed back to England, 

Now, in the bright warm sunlight of a winter's 
morning, General Guy Carleton stood talking with 
the archbishop as the congregation filed out of the 
cathedral. The eight penitents were nowhere to be 
seen. All solemnity was over. 

Close behind Carleton on the cathedral steps were 
his officers, gray-cloaked British from as far away as 
Montreal, and German officers in their blue capes or 
white Canadian coats, some with mitre caps as tall 
and as flashing bright as the bishop's. All waited the 
departure of the personages, so they could hurry off 
to prepare for the first of the festivities that were to 
begin the new and wonderful year of 1777. 


The Thanksgiving Service at the cathedral had 
started at nine o'clock in the morning. The reception 
at Government House, which was a "parade" for all 
officers, was scheduled for ten o'clock. Those com- 
manding troops were excused early so that they 
could fall in with their detachments for the military 
review called for eleven. They were bidden to lunch 
with the governor and his lady at three o'clock, and 
in the late afternoon all would be confusion in the 
quarters that the visiting officers shared with the 
officers of the Quebec garrison, as everyone dressed 
for the great ball. 

By six o'clock the winter's night had drawn in. 
Amid a silvery jingle of bells, sled after sled drew up 
to the door of the auberge, and the high-born of Que- 
bec threw aside their fur lap robes to dash between 
the pine torches lighting the doorway and into the 
warmth of the party rooms. As was to be expected in 
a city swollen by an army, there were two gallants 
for every lady the odd man being, of course, an 
officer. Only two English ladies were present, and 
these, being the governor's lovely young lady and her 
sister, married to the governor's nephew, were too 
exalted for more than the most formal flirtation. The 
British grenadiers regretted particularly the absence 
of their commander's wife, die sharp-witted, sharp- 
featured Lady Harriet herself, like the two Carle- 
ton ladies, the daughter of an earl. But Major John 
Acland was down sick in his wretched quarters on 
the bank of the Richelieu River, and the devoted 
Lady Harriet nursed him. So no Quebec lady went 
unnoticed through the evening of the New Year's 


ball, though she be so provincial as to speak her 
French, to awkward-tongued English or German 
officers, with the accent of her native Indian tongue. 

A concert filled the hours to midnight, and there 
was dancing, too, of a desultory nature. The party 
was at supper when the magical moment struck, and 
the year was 1777. 

For the officers the festivities continued for two 
more days and nights. There seemed to be so much 
for them to do and say, so much to plan for this new 
year. The year just closed had carried most of them 
from towns along the Rhine or the sleepy little rivers 
of England to the walls of Ticonderoga on Lake 
Champlain, and they were confident, for the most 
part, that 1777 would take them full cycle down the 
Hudson and, the futile rebellion having been quashed, 
home to shire and dorf . 

Colonel Barry St. Leger, a man of the kidney of 
the absent Johnny Burgoyne, was host at a stag din- 
ner, and a sleigh ride took his guests singing through 
the night to the country house of a doctor, whose 
reputation as the Lucullus of Quebec was found to 
be justified. They made the acquaintance, too, of the 
fabulously rich bachelor, Monsieur de la Naudi&re, 
who, in the lodges of the Indians, was the son-in Jaw 
of the monumental Chevalier St. Luc de la Corne. 
At sixty-seven, St. Luc could still call up and lead to 
war a thousand savage Indians, and rumor had it 
that already his messengers had gone to the western 
tribes beyond Montreal and far out on the Great 
Lakes to rally the warriors for the approaching cam- 


At last the parties came to an end. The officers re- 
turned to their billets and their troops scattered in a 
hundred villages from Quebec to Montreal and up 
the Richelieu as far as He aux Nois, where the Lake 
Champlain fleet lay waiting for the thaw. 

Baron Riedesel commanded his Germans from 
Trois Rivieres, and out of loneliness, wrote fond and 
longing letters to his wife, asking her to join him. 
The British troops stationed in and around Montreal 
were under the command of Major General William 
Phillips, a proud man "the proudest man of the 
proudest nation on earth," according to Thomas 
Jefferson, who knew him. Phillips was proud of being 
a gunner, even more than of being a general officer, 
and he was especially proud of the military band 
of the Royal Regiment of Artillery, which he himself 
had created. On the other hand, plump, little Colonel 
St. Leger, who commanded at Quebec, was an in- 
fantryman, light of foot, the master of maneuver and 
attack, either in the field or on the ballroom floor. 
Commanding them all and in command of all Canada 
was Guy Carleton. 

With all the British in Canada, scarcely anyone 
took notice of the Yankees. The soldiery trained and 
paraded, drank when they could, gossiped inter- 
minably, and fought among themselves; they seized 
upon any excuse for a party or sat by the fireside at 
their billets, and, whenever possible, kept out of the 
way of their corporals and sergeants and captains and 
colonels and generals. Only the displaced Tories, 
driven from their homes in the Atlantic colonies, 
were venegeful. One of these, Samuel McKay, re- 


cently escaped from a Connecticut jail, on 3 April 
1777 made a raid on the American supply route. The 
ambush he laid at Sabbath Day Point on Lake 
George killed four rebels; and their captain, wounded 
and a prisoner, was carried back to Canada by the 
tall, pale Tory ranger. 

McKay's raid was the beginning of the campaign. 
The winter had been mild and spring came early to 
rot the ice on the lakes, where each new patch of 
open water increased the apprehension of the Ameri- 
cans, watching anxiously to the north from the 
bastions of Ticonderoga. 

On 6 May, His Majesty's Frigate Apollo dropped 
anchor among the last ice floes lingering in the road- 
stead at Quebec. She was the first ship of the year to 
arrive from England, and aboard her was the express 
passenger, Lieutenant General John Burgoyne. It 
was the general's third trip across the Atlantic to the 
North American theater of war. One of a pack of 
major generals sent to help General Thomas Gage 
run the hare of rebellion to ground in 1775, Burgoyne 
had arrived at Boston aboard the Cerberus. There, 
Sir William Howe and Sir Henry Clinton took care of 
all the duties requiring the attention of a major 
general, so Burgoyne, as junior, employed his time 
in writing letters describing the military operations 
around Boston. He also wrote a play, in which he 
ridiculed the prudery of the Bostonians. In Novem- 
ber he returned to London and the House of Com- 
mons, where he held the seat for Preston. 


The following year Burgoyne came out to Canada 
in HMS Blonde, to be commander of troops under 
Guy Carleton, the commander in chief in Canada. 
Again, the month of November saw Burgoyne on 
the stormy Atlantic on his way to the House of 
Commons and to the Ministries where plans would 
be made for the 1777 campaign in North America. 

Now, while the sailors secured the Apollo at her 
anchorage, Burgoyne stood on the quarterdeck with 
the captain, politely taking his leave as he watched 
the government barge pulling out from the quay to 
fetch him. He was cloaked, booted, and ready to ride. 
Slung over the shoulder of his aide who was waiting 
in the waist of the ship, were saddle bags containing 
orders, dispatches, and instructions for Carleton. 
Dining the long haul up the St. Lawrence the Apollo 
had been in touch with shore, and everyone on board 
knew that the governor general was upriver with the 
army. Burgoyne must hurry to him. The meeting be- 
tween the two gentlemen was bound to be some- 
what awkward, for the news must be broken to 
Carleton that he had been superseded as commander 
of the invasion army by Burgoyne himself. 

As commander in chief of the expedition designed 
as the maul that would split in two the rebellious 
Atlantic colonies down the natural fault of the Mont- 
real-New York waterline, John Burgoyne stood, his 
legs firmly braced, to swing that, maul for the highest 
stakes of his already brilliant career. He was fifty- 
four years old, with strong features and a decided 
jut and clench to his jaw. The weight that he had put 


on in recent years became him, and limited him only 
in the choice of horses that could carry him. As a 
slim youth he had been accustomed to the heavy 
dragoon charger of his regiment. It was not until 
1759, when he raised his own regiment of light 
dragoons, that he found in the agile animal required 
for that new cavalry service the mount to match his 
spirit and his image. If he now needed a sturdy 
hunter to carry him, it would make little actual differ- 
ence, for in Canada a horse fit for a gentleman to 
ride was nowhere to be found. 

John Burgoyne's career in the cavalry was a logical 
one in view of his background: th^t of an old county 
family with good, if modest, patronage. His early 
elopement with a daughter of the Earl of Derby, a 
step which he assured that important Whig family 
had not been dictated by opportunism, nevertheless 
widened considerably the range within which he 
could develop his capacities. First and foremost was 
his military life, through which he was in the ken 
of the sovereign owing to the high standard main- 
tained by his 16th ("Queens") Light Dragoons, as 
well as to a brilliant campaign as brigadier general 
in Portugal. 

He was a hard campaigner and an adroit politician, 
who, lacking the ambition to attain cabinet rank, was 
free of the constraint of normal party lines. In 1773 
Burgoyne had stood as accuser at the impeachment 
trial of Robert Clive for the alleged misdeeds of that 
soldier-empire builder while in India, and had won 
his case. His military career kept him away for long 


periods from his seat in the House of Commons, 
which he entered in 1761, but when in the House 
John Burgoyne was a conscientious member of par- 
liament, who voiced his opinions in fine rhetorical 

Burgoyne's gifted use of words and of resounding 
phrases of wit and elegance gave him more than a 
passing vogue as poet and playwright. In his varied 
pursuits, he epitomized the English gentleman of the 
eighteenth century, and that he was successful in 
three fields of endeavor the military, the political, 
and the literary proves him to have been more 
than the casual dilettante, and marks him as one de- 
termined to excel. 

In his vices, too, John Burgoyne excelled. He gam- 
bled more successfully than had his father; he drank 
with greater discrimination and capacity than most 
officers and gentlemen; and he wenched within the 
boundaries of his own class, without prejudice to his 
devotion to his own wife. 

Thus, it was in admiration of a completely rounded 
man of the eighteenth century that his soldiers on 
the Peninsula dubbed Burgoyne with a ribald nick- 
name and bestowed upon him the truer accolade 
of "Gentleman Johnny," which, in 1777, epitomized 
the new lieutenant general in Canada. 

Guy Carleton, too, was a gentleman and, com- 
mensurate with his rank in die army and in the 
colonial service, a politician. His removal as com- 
mander in chief of the northern striking force was a 
political setback, and the promotion of John Bur- 


goyne to replace him an intentional rebuke. But the 
insult came from the minister in London, not from 
the gentleman whose embarrassing duty it was to 
deliver it. The orders Burgoyne produced from his 
saddle bag, therefore, could be accepted by Carleton 
with all the grace of one gentleman losing to another 
at cards. 

Burgoyne was the logical person to carry out the 
campaign as ordered from London. The plans were of 
his own devising. They were based upon a fact as old 
as the geography of North America itself. When the 
great glacier receded it left one geological fault 
through the mountain barrier which, in the eighteenth 
century, held the thirteen American colonies to the 
Atlantic coast. Furthermore, the melting ice left a 
chain of lakes in the northern half of the corridor 
through the mountains, and in the southern half of 
that corridor the glacial freshet had gouged out a 
wide river basin. To Burgoyne, and to the exalted 
gentlemen pouring over maps in a Whitehall office, 
these waterways seemed expressly created to carry 
the heavy baggage of a British army. Nor would 
the land which divided Lake Champlain and Lake 
George, the northward draining lakes from the 
Hudson River, flowing to the south, hamper the 
passage of a well-equipped expedition. It had been 
crossed by the British armies that had conquered 
Canada, and even the rabble army of the Americans 
traversed its roads freely to supply the fort at Ticon- 

Twice Burgoyne had prepared for the British cabi- 


net plans based on the strategical importance of the 
Lake Champlain-Hudson River gap. On his return 
from Boston in November 1775 he had written and 
presented his "Reflections upon the War in America." 
The campaigns of 1776, during which Howe had oc- 
cupied New York City and the lower Hudson Valley 
while Carleton, with Burgoyne as his second in 
command, had reconquered Canada including Lake 
Champlain, were a part of these "Reflections." On 
his return to London in November of 1776, Burgoyne 
had written out his 'Thoughts for Conducting the 
War from the Side of Canada." These thoughts 
formed the basis for the orders which Burgoyne was 
now delivering to Guy Carleton. 

The orders called for a three-pronged advance on 
Albany, set midway between New York and Mont- 
real, the largest and most important inland city in 
the American colonies. General Howe, or his second 
in command, General Clinton, was to move north- 
ward up the Hudson, perhaps with the British fleet, 
and would provide a solid British block. Burgoyne 
was to be the axe, cleaving swiftly through the Ameri- 
can army which awaited the blow at Ticonderoga, 
and falling lightly on the block. Like a split balk of 
fine wood, the American revolution would then fall 
apart, its shattered armies to be gathered up at 
leisure. The third force, as outlined in Burgoyne's 
"Thoughts," would immediately begin on the tidying 
up. Colonel Barry St. Leger would take a small 
force, made up for the most part of loyal Ameri- 
cans and Iroquois Indians, and proceed in a wide 


swing around the mass of the Adirondack Mountains 
through the Mohawk River Valley which had been 
their homeland, to fall on Albany from the west. 
Burgoyne expected that St. Leger would draw off 
some of the rebel army facing him, and that there 
would be a general rising and return to loyalty by the 
people of the Mohawk Valley. 

The tactical plan of the campaign was reminiscent 
of Jeffrey Amherst's final and masterful stroke in the 
conquest of Canada in 1759, when, with perfect tim- 
ing, he had converged three armies, from three dis- 
tant and different directions, upon Montreal. Bur- 
goyne's campaign, like Amherst's, depended for its 
success upon the concerted movement in time and 
space of three separate forces: the forces of Howe, 
of St. Leger, and of Burgoyne himself. Specific orders 
to Howe, covering this vital aspect of the plan and 
his part in it, were drawn up by Lord George Ger- 
maine, who, as Colonial Secretary, was responsible 
for the conduct of the American war. These orders 
were to be sent direct to General Howe, wintering 
comfortably with his mistress in New York. 

Germaine's orders to Carleton, though less im- 
portant to the success of Burgoyne's plans, were more 
specific. They called on him to prepare the Champlain 
fleet, furnish artillery and stores, recruit a large num- 
ber of Canadians and Indians, and, while aiding his 
successor in every way, defend all of Canada against 
invasion or revolt. This last was to be accomplished 
with 3000 soldiers chosen from the "odds and sods" 
of the expedition's regiments, and with the remains 


of existing regiments from which the elite had been 
drafted to Burgoyne and St. Leger. As a soldier 
Carleton had no alternative but to comply. This he 
did, though he doubted his ability to supply the Ca- 
nadians and Indians in the quantity or quality ex- 
pected of him. He also doubted the claims of the 
Tory refugees as to the number of their fellow sym- 
pathizers who would co-operate with the "liberat- 
ing" army. Carleton knew the vast extent of forest 
distances, as he knew the deceptive seasons of the 
north country. He knew the long chance a messenger 
took in coming from New York to Montreal, whether 
by sea or through the lines of the able Continental 
army or the militia watch in each isolated town. 
Perhaps Guy Carleton was wisely relieved of the 
responsibility of leading an expedition based upon 
estimates with which he was at variance. Hope for the 
success of Burgoyne's venture lay in the infectious 
enthusiasm and the bright spark of that gentleman's 
gay conviction. The displaced Carleton was unstint- 
ing in his aid. 


On Your Markers; Fall In! 

Ten days after landing at Quebec, Gentleman Johnny 
made his entry into Montreal, where he took com- 
mand of the right (or British) wing of his army. 

On his arrival, there was a formal reception, a 
pretty affair of fine uniforms and of musicians play- 
ing behind a screen of evergreen boughs, and on the 
fourth day, which was 21 May, a Grand Review of 
the British line. The massed bands played before the 
reviewing stand as Major General Phillips made the 
formal presentation of the two brigade commanders. 
With each of them in turn Burgoyne walked the 
length of their lines, inspecting, exchanging a word 
with a subaltern, ramrod-stiff in front of his platoon, 
or questioning a sergeant about the food or billets. 

The appearance of these men had changed in the 
year since Burgoyne had brought them to Canada. 
The conventional smartness of their uniforms was 
gone. No new clothes had come out to them from 
England, so their old long coats had been cut short 
and the tails used as patches. The wide-brimmed 
tricorne hats had been cut down into jaunty small 



caps, to which each regiment had added a distinctive 
plume of feathers or horsehair. Though these were 
the battalion companies, they now looked like light 
infantrymen, representing the British army's com- 
promise to meet the challenge^ of American rangers 
and riflemen. It was this new appearance of the men 
that would cause Burgoyne to publish a general order 
reminding them of the British soldier's traditional 
reliance on the bayonet, and stressing their superi- 
ority in open space and hardy combat. 

Not all of the new commander in chiefs first days 
in Canada were occupied with froth and show. On 
the way up from Quebec he had seen the German 
troops of his left wing, and now his orders routed the 
regiments out of their billets around Lake St. Pierre. 
From his headquarters in the prelate's fine house at 
Trois Rivieres, Major General Eiedesel pulled his 
battalions together again after the long winter. He 
worked with an eye to the east, hoping against hope 
that from that direction his little baroness would ar- 
rive before he had to set out once again on field 
service. Otherwise, he had made arrangements for 
her to pass the summer, with their children, in the 
hospitable household of the prelate. 

The day before the Grand Review, Brigadier Gen- 
eral Simon Eraser's advance corps, which was to lead 
the army all the way, assembled in cantonment at 
Longeuil, across and downriver from Montreal. Across 
the river, too, well away from the gay city, the In- 
dians in their village of Caunawaga, and their savage 
brothers from up the Ottawa in their temporary 


camps, made preparations for the campaign in their 
own ominous way. They were to go ahead even of 
the advance corps, exploring the woods, eyes for 
Burgoyne, blinding the eyes of the enemy, and cast- 
ing their dark shadow before the bright battalions 
of the British regulars. 

The forest road from Longeuil to St. Jean, at the 
foot of navigation on Lake Champlain, was still deep 
in mud at the end of May, and Fraser had to lead 
most of his advance corps around and up the Riche- 
lieu in order to reach his final muster point. As he 
passed through St. Jean, he saw that all was in readi- 
ness there. Captain Skeffington Lutwidge, Royal 
Navy, had launched his new ship, the Royal George, 
and was slinging aboard its battery of twenty-four 
iron 12-pound cannon. In the roadstead, tugging at 
her anchor cables, rode the veteran Inflexible, twenty 
guns, bows on into the swift spring current. In line 
behind her, with white canvas furled, was the stately 
fleet of Britain's inland navy: the Lady Maria and the 
Carleton, named in compliment to the governor gen- 
eral and his young wife; the Loyal Convert; and the 
three prizes taken the previous October, the Wash- 
ington, the Lee, and the gondola New Jersey. 
Anchored off the fort was the square, blunt radeau 
Thunderer, a vessel of the royal artillery, her mast 
restepped this year to make her into a bomb ketch for 
the expected siege of Fort Ticonderoga, almost a hun- 
dred miles up the lake. 

Before it sailed, the battle fleet would lose three of 
its number to the transport service the Wash- 


ington, Lee, and Loyal Convert. Even the mighty 
Inflexible and the Royal George would become tows 
for the ungainly pontoon-bridge-boom that Lieuten- 
ant John Schank, engineer and sailor, had designed to 
bridge the narrows between Crown Point and the 
east shore of the lake. As May gave place to June, it 
became known that the Yankees had not rebuilt their 
fleet, so there would be no naval battle in 1777* Then, 
too, as the staff officers checked and rechecked their 
lists, and once more figured their estimates, the neces- 
sity for additional transports became apparent. More 
and more food would be needed for the hungry 
mouths of men and horses, and for the guns of both 
siege and field trains of artillery. Supplies of all kinds, 
and in vast quantities, must be built up in the first 
great depot, to be established at Crown Point, for the 
siege and the dash across the land divide and down 
the Hudson River. 

With the decision in favor of transport, Lieutenant 
Schank left unassembled the timbers of the new style 
gunboats, brought in pieces from England. He had 
enough work in hand, caulking and repairing the 
gunboats of '76 and the five hundred bateaux which 
would carry the soldiers and their equipment up the 
lake, then return for the barrels, kegs, boxes, and 
bales. These last were accumulating slowly, due to 
the persistent mud on the roads from Montreal and 
from Chambly, up around the rapids of the Richelieu. 

In Montreal, Lieutenant James Hadden of the 
Royal Artillery waited long enough to see the il- 
lumination of the city in honor of the king's birthday. 


After dark, bonfires were lighted by every house- 
holder in his front yard, and the streets were filled 
with youthful revelry, the enthusiastic celebrants 
smashing the windows of anyone whose fire did not 
seem sufficiently large or patriotic to match the glory 
of King George and the omnipotence of his army, 
so soon to set out to victory. The convoy which 
Hadden was to take did not leave Longeuil for St. 
Jean until 6 June, the second day after the illmuina- 
tions. It was a hard journey. Mud dragged at the 
wheels of the newly made carts, and the plunging 
horses, straining into their collars to free a mired 
wagon, broke the axles fashioned of too green wood, 
the iron shoes working loose from the wheels. Not 
until nightfall did the carts, worn and battered after 
their first day's journey, reach St. Jean. Extensive re- 
pairs were needed before they could be sent up the 
lake to ply the portage from Ticonderoga to Lake 
George, and further on, from Lake George to the 
navigable Hudson at Fort Edward. 

When possible, dinner began in the early after- 
noon and continued course after course until late in 
the day. At St. Jean, on 12 June, General William 
Phillips was the host. His troops were ready to em- 
bark; those of General Fraser were up ahead, and the 
Germans were staged all the way down the Richelieu 
River to its mouth at Sorel, on the St. Lawrence 
River. All the generals were Phillips's guests: Bur- 
goyne and Riedesel and the brigadiers. Sir Guy 
Carleton, too, had come up for the farewell dinner 


and for his official part in the formal leavetalcing on 
the morrow. 

Confidence in the success of the expedition was 
borne in with the patage au Canadien; congratula- 
tions flowed out of the wine bottles, from the 
madeira through the Rhenish wines of Germany to 
the champagne that accompanied the sweet. With 
the port, came a messenger from Quebec with the 
news of the arrival of a convoy from England, bearing 
supplies, reinforcements for regiments, three com- 
panies of Hesse-Hanau Jagers and three small 
girls with their mother, the Baroness Friederika von 
Riedesel. Brandy, obviously, was the drink with 
which to toast the major general from Brunswick 
and his good fortune. Riedesel was excused, for 
though theirs was an army on the move, Burgoyne, 
a widower for the past year, knew and could well 
understand the feelings of his subordinate. Further- 
more, the lady herself had ignored the arrangements 
made for her at Trois Rivieres and was on her way 
to the Richelieu. It was best for the morale of all 
concerned that Riedesel should have a few days' 
reunion with his family, while his regiments moved 
up under their own competent officers. The in- 
domitable little baroness might then settle down to 
wait in Canada with the other ladies of the army. 
Burgoyne knew the limits of his leadership, and 
halted at the perimeter of a hoopskirt! 

On 13 June, in front of all the troops, with full 
regimental bands playing, and in the presence of the 
habitants of St. Jean and the surrounding country- 


side, Sir Guy Carleton took the salute in the name of 
His Majesty King George the Third. Out in the river, 
flying from the high mainmast of the radeau Thun- 
derer., was the royal standard, emblazoned with the 
heraldry of England, Scotland, Hanover, and ancient 
France. In the gentle wind, it billowed lazily and 
confidently, for all to see and know where true 
loyalty lay. The bateaux of the first brigade were 
moving out from shore and forming up in fours, their 
oarblades flashing in the sunlight as they hurried 
after the vessels of the fleet, already lost to view 
beyond the first bend of the river. 

Burgoyne and Phillips stepped into their respective 
pinnaces, doffed their hats to the royal standard of 
their sovereign and to his representatives on shore. 
Canada left behind; the expedition was under way. 
In full command, John Burgoyne was charging down 
the summer fields of glory with seven thousand 
veterans at his back. 

In actual fact, Burgoyne himself did not leave St. 
Jean until 17 June. He watched his regiments as they 
went by. He made a point of seeing every soldier of 
the main body, and made sure that every soldier 
in the army saw him, standing in the stern of his 
pinnace as the bateaux rowed past, on the foreshore 
as the regiments landed to make camp for the night, 
or wandering casually through the company lines 
while the cook-fires yet burned. On these occasions, 
his orders expressly forbade the formalities due his 
rank. Burgoyne stood with Riedesel as the German 


division marched up from Chambly, every rank 
dressed, the interval an exact eighteen inches, every 
man chanting the somber songs of the Rhineland, 
which sound so lugubrious to English ears. 

With the plan rolling smoothly on the well-greased 
axle of discipline, General Burgoyne could turn to 
his field desk, which had been taken aboard the Lady 
Maria for the journey up to the advance elements of 
his army. 

High Command called on Lieutenant General Bur- 
goyne to prepare the way ahead and to strike with 
strategy, like a billhook clearing brush from an un- 
tended cart road. With his army moving forward in 
a pageant of might, Gentleman Johnny, the play- 
wright, penned a Proclamation to the American Peo- 
ple. Trumpets blared from the wings, "numerous" 
armies and fleets moved across the stage; the "good" 
Americans were cosseted; the "Assemblies and Com- 
mittees'* were scorned, abhorred, and cast out. Fi- 
nally, in a crescendo of rhetoric, this Thor of the 
northern armies let loose his threat to "give stretch" 
to his savage Indian horde. 

The proclamation embodying this threat was only 
the prologue of the drama. On 20 June, General Bur- 
goyne made his carefully staged entrance upon the 

The Lady Maria anchored in the mouth of the 
Bouquet River. The commander in chief went ashore, 
where an escort of officers Englishmen, Germans, 
Loyal Americans, and Canadians awaited his land- 
ing. Burgoyne and his aides wore their full-dress 


regimental uniforms. The officers on shore had had 
their servants working through the night, brushing 
and polishing away the stain of the forest from their 
service dress. In all the ruck of uniforms, one man 
stood out by dint of his appearance: he was the 
Chevalier St. Luc de la Corne, the leader of Bur- 
goyne's "Indian horde." 

St. Luc was now an old man, a relic of New 
France and of all the Indian Wars of those earlier 
days. In 1777 he was a Canadian, and though he 
wore his Order of St. Louis, as he stood among the 
British against whom he had won the Order with 
tomahawk and scalping knife, he was a loyal, art- 
ful, and ambitious subject of King George. He 
controlled the Ottawa Indians; his name and reputa- 
tion were known, and his influence felt, in many 
more distant lodges. 

With all the dignity of an Indian warrior, the 
grace of a courtier, and the ease of a gentleman, 
St. Luc greeted his general and guided him up a 
short trail to the council place. In a clearing, the 
old Indian leader had gathered his warriors, who 
like their brothers, the white warriors were be- 
decked for this ceremonious occasion. 

Burgoyne rose to speak. His opening words of 
greeting, put together to resound in praise of the 
Indians* loyalty to their king, lost nothing in transla- 
tion. The chief and the warriors approved. Warming 
to his audience, Burgoyne made his first point: as the 
rebels had abused the clemency offered them, the 
Indians were now granted "stretch" against the "par- 


ricides of State." Continuing, Burgoyne modified this 
license to a certain extent by pointing out that there 
were many loyal and good Americans who were 
allies, and therefore inviolate, as were the English 
and German officers ranged behind him at the solemn 
council. Unfortunately, the British general concluded 
his oration in weakness. He forbade the Indians to 
kill aged men, women, and children, and prisoners. 
He offered a bribe for prisoners, but would demand 
an accounting before paying the bounty on scalps, 
which were to come only from the dead, killed in 
battle. In conclusion, Burgoyne adjured the Indians 
to give implicit obedience to his orders. 

Moved by the forensic power and the fine, impos- 
ing presence of the king's resplendent chief, an old 
Indian rose to speak the promise of all the braves. 
In the background lurked the interpreters, lieuten- 
ants of St. Luc, smirking as they contemplated the 
profits in scalp money and loot to be had in the land 
of the Yankees and the hated "Bostonais." 

Liquor was brought ashore from the Lady Maria 
for the war dance, which the European officers 
watched with an uneasy loathing. 

In the morning the warriors had gone. 

On up the lake came the armada of vessels. Each 
day a brigade moved forward, landing for the night 
at the campsite of the brigade that had gone ahead. 
Then a storm held up the advance for three days. 
After the hard rain, the black flies came to torment 
the men, unable to build their smudge fires of the 
wet wood. The Germans, who were accustomed to 


oven-baked bread, wasted their ration of flour in 
futile attempts at making "fire cakes" like those of 
the British. Again on the lake, with a full, wide view 
of the armada, confidence and cheer returned. A 
watch boat raced north down the lake with word 
that General Eraser's advance corps had passed the 
narrows, had landed at Button Mold Bay, and were 
readying themselves for the assault landing at Crown 
Point the following day, 25 June. 

The first company of light infantry went over the 
bows of their assault boats on schedule, deployed 
among the buildings and the outcroppings of rock 
along the shore, and looked about them. Quiet, al- 
ways held suspect by alert, seasoned troops, was 
everywhere. It was deathly still at Crown Point. 
Major the Earl of Balcarres, on one knee, his New- 
foundland dog "Bateau" sitting, bolt upright, by his 
side, ordered a squad to rush the entrance to the fort. 
The light infantrymen raised their muskets to the 
alert as the squad ran forward over the bridge. All 
eyes were on the high ramparts. Nothing happened. 
Suddenly, .the men were aware that one of their own 
was standing in the entry way, beckoning to them, 
and the major, his dog obediently at heel, was 
sauntering over the bridge. 

Crown Point was deserted. 


On the Left! At the Double! March! 

Twelve miles up the lake from Crown Point, Fort 
Ticonderoga barred the way of the British advance. 
General Burgoyne's intention was to leave Lake 
Champlain at Ticonderoga and go to the Hudson 
River by way of Lake George and the long portage, 
the traditional route of British armies since 1755. 
While still in London, he had decided against the 
alternative way, which was via Skenesborough and 
the uncertain overland road from there to the Hudson 
by way of Wood Creek and Fort Anne. Either way, 
Fort Ticonderoga must be taken. It dominated the 
fork of the two roads to the south. 

Ticonderoga was important to Burgoyne for yet 
another reason. Ever since the French had built the 
great stone fort in 1755-56, it had been the back gate 
to the Atlantic colonies. Its fall to Jeffrey Amherst in 
1759 finally had removed the threat of an alien 
dagger, constantly pricking the throat of the British 
colonists. Americans had fought there side by side 
with British regulars, and Ticonderoga's formidable 
strength was legendary. When the fort fell to a little 



band of Green Mountain Boys under their leader, 
Ethan Allen, the Americans roared with laughter at 
the discomfiture of the British, and took heart in the 
success of their revolution. Burgoyne's recapture of 
the place would turn the old joke back on the 

During the two years of its occupation, the Ameri- 
can army had greatly enlarged and extended the 
Fort Ticonderoga defense system. The old French 
fort on the Ticonderoga Peninsula jutting out from 
the west shore of Lake Champlain, had been pro- 
vided with shore batteries to bolster its defenses. A 
barbette now covered the portage to Lake George, 
and gun positions backed up the old French trench 
system that covered the western approach. Across 
the lake, American engineers had built a new fort of 
actual and strategic strength, which they called 
Mount Independence. On the lake between the two 
posts a bridge had been built and other obstacles 
placed to fix the British fleet in a killing ground of 
converging cannon fire. To hold this large fortress 
against Burgoyne, Major General Arthur St. Clair 
was sent by General Philip Schuyler, commander of 
the northern department of General Washington's 
army. He was a second choice. Horatio Gates, who 
had held Ticonderoga in 1776, had refused the com- 
mand from Schuyler in a move for higher stakes in 
the political game of New England against New 
York. In the Continental Congress, Schuyler's New 
York star was falling, and he had been given but 
twenty-five hundred soldiers to hold Ticonderoga, 


whereas five times that number would have been 
none too many. Arthur St. Glair, a blue-eyed Scot, 
first saw his new command only the day before the 
royal standard was run up the mainmast of the Thun- 
derer. Those officers of Burgoyne's army who had 
been with Wolfe on the Plains of Abraham in 1759 
remembered the Yankee general against whom they 
were now going, as Lieutenant St. Glair of the British 
line. In his position of high rank and command, 
Arthur St. Glair thought clearly and without guile, 
and was courageous in his decisions. At Ticonderoga 
he faced his former comrades in arms without visible 
emotion, neither minimizing his desperate situation 
in the path of the British colossus nor panicking into 
rashness or fright. 

General Burgoyne had envisaged the Ticonderoga 
position as representing the main American resist- 
ance to his plans. In anticipation he had assembled 
a siege train which, together with the guns of his 
battalions, numbered one hundred and twenty-eight 
pieces. This did not include the fleet's permament 
armament, much of which could be brought to bear. 
In spite of Ticonderoga's small garrison, Burgoyne 
gave St. Glair the compliment of a full-scale siege. 
He wanted to ensure the capture of the fort with its 
garrison of ten regiments, the hard core of the whole 
northern army of American Continentals. The Ameri- 
can militiamen, as soldiers, were inconsiderable. 

On the first day of July the British army began its 
advance up both sides of Lake Champlain. The guide 
was on the center, Riedesel and his two German 


brigades going up the east shore with Mfcunt Inde- 
pendence as their objective; Phillips, with the Eng- 
lish, took the west shore. In between were the ships 
of the Royal Navy, escorting the guns to their siege 

On the 2 July, Eraser's advance corps began the 
movement that would extend Burgoyne's right flank 
as far as the sawmill and the American escape route 
to Lake George. At nine o'clock that morning a 
column of smoke was seen rising from the barbette 
battery on Mount Hope. Further on, Fraser and 
Phillips could see more smoke, which they judged 
to come from the sawmill, the adjacent bridge, and 
other works. 

Out ahead, the Indians were getting the scent of 
battle, wildly scouting the smoke and running back 
with exaggerated and conflicting reports as to the 
strength of the American force. They had also dis- 
covered some liquor. At one o'clock in the afternoon 
General Fraser finally ordered out his nephew, Alex- 
ander Fraser, with his company of selected rangers 
to determine the true state of affairs. An Irish cor- 
poral, crawling up to the American outworks in the 
old French-built trenches, known as the French lines, 
made the first contact with the rebel army. He was 
taking aim at a Yankee he had sighted through a sally 
port when he in turn was fired upon. Both soldiers 
missed, but their shots triggered a whole fusillade 
of firing from the French lines, in which the guns on 
the fort joined. In the confusion, the Irish corporal 
fell and feigned dead, Captain Fraser withdrew his 


men, and the Indians fled. An American sortie took 
the corporal prisoner. Fraser continued his scout and 
found that no Americans remained outside the line of 
trenches. Phillips ordered up his brigades, and the 
Ticonderoga Peninsula was sealed off. On the ex- 
treme left, Riedesel had come up to the marshy creek 
behind Mount Independence. 

The plan was going well, and Burgoyne had no 
need to improvise with orders. With his aide, he rode 
around the positions, talking with men cheerfully at 
work with pick and shovel, or with drag ropes at the 
guns. His particular interest lay on his extreme right 
where, beyond the creek, the steep rise of Sugar Loaf 
Mountain swept upward to the almost perpendicular 
drop at its eastern summit, overlooking the lake and 
the two rebel forts. His artillery officer, Major Griffith 
Williams, and Lieutenant William Twiss, his en- 
gineer, were sent out to determine whether a cannon 
mounted on Sugar Loaf could carry into the forts; 
further, could Twiss build a road by which guns 
could be taken to the mountain top? 

In the evening the two officers returned to head- 
quarters, tired and hot, but elated at the prospect 
from the summit. The view could only * have been 
improved if seen over the top of a 12-pounder; and 
a road with a stiff climb at the end was en- 
tirely possible. 

During the night, the guns were moved around 
the perimeter of die mountain. British sentries in the 
line cursed their passing because the noise they made 
might arouse the curiosity of the Yankees, quiet in 


their own positions. All during the day of the 5 July, 
the gunners and the engineer's detail toiled in the 
hot, insect-infested woods behind Mount Defiance. 
Gun teams snorted down the necks of brush-cutters 
and pawed at the slippery bark of the logs. Men took 
over from the teams for the last climb to the rocky 
summit, and made it by their sweat. By late after- 
noon the first gun was being assembled. Below in 
Fort Ticonderoga, Major Wilkinson saw the glint of 
sun on the brass tube of a telescope. General St. Clair 
was looking up at the new commander of his fort. 

In the dark early hours of the 6 July, a house 
took fire over on Mount Independence. On being in- 
formed of this, the brigade major of the day for the 
Germans awakened Riedesel. For long minutes the 
veteran general stood in front of his tent, watching 
the flames of the house burning in the "Yankee" lines. 
Then abruptly, he ordered a boat and escort to be 
prepared and went in to his tent to dress. A long day 
had begun for the baron. 

It was just getting light when Brigadier General 
Fraser was called to hear the report of three rebel 
deserters who had come into the picquet which was 
watching the French lines. The deserters said that 
the Americans had gone, some by boat to the south, 
the main body eastward into the hills on the road 
to Hubbardton and the Green Mountains. Fraser's 
first order was to beat the alarm, that his corps might 
turn out ready for immediate duty. 

There were no enemy soldiers behind the French 


lines. The gray stone fort was deserted. The boats 
had gone from the foreshore, and the storehouses, 
forges, and bakeries stood empty, their doors agape, 
their interiors in shambles. Running in through the 
hospital door, a British lieutenant saw but one figure 
in all the gloomy ward; the man, covered with a 
blanket, was dead. Outside again, the lieutenant 
could look down onto the narrow passage of the lake 
with its two bridges leading to Mount Independence. 
Out on the pier bridge, a platoon of grenadiers was 
forming into single file to cross the charred plank 
spanning a gap in the bridge inexpertly made by the 
retreating Americans. The lieutenant called his men 
together and led them down the bank to the bridge- 
head, where General Fraser was marshaling his 

Across the bridge, the grenadier platoon walked 
boldly into the American battery covering the ap- 
proach. In a shelter lay an American gun crew, 
dead or were they drunk? The grenadiers gathered 
around in admiration and wonder, as the sergeant 
kicked the men out of their stupor. Suddenly a gun 
roared, an Indian stumbled back into the group, and 
the lieutenant cursed loudly. The cannon which the 
drunken Yankees had been left to man had been dis- 
charged by the prowling redskin. It had been poorly 
laid, in an attempt at covering the bridge, and 
through the embrasure the grenadiers could see their 
mates of the advance corps approaching. 

Mount Independence, too, had been abandoned 
by the rebels, but Riedesel was there with a group 


of his green-coated riflemen. He had crossed the 
creek in time to see the last of the "Yankees" march- 
ing off down the track to Hubbardton. While he and 
General Fraser discussed the situation, and aides 
were sent flying to Burgoyne with the news, the sol- 
diers of the advance corps scratched through the 
debris of hasty departure and argued over choice bits 
like so many fat red hens. The general's house al- 
ways a prime focal point for loot had been burned. 
It was that which had made the blaze that General 
Riedesel had been awakened to see. His estimate had 
been a correct one: the Americans had escaped. 

Permission to pursue the retreating rebel army did 
not reach Fraser, on Mount Independence, until the 
sun was well up on a day that promised to be hot. 
At the morning alarm he had been able to muster 
only half of his advance corps. There was now no 
way to gather up his whole force for the chase. In the 
confusion that took hold of the invasion army on 
discovering the enemy gone, Commodore Lutwidge 
had cut the bridges in order to let his big ships go 
through. No less eager to pursue than the commodore, 
Fraser started off with his light infantry, followed 
by elements of the 24th Foot and of the grenadiers. 
Riedesel watched them go; then he hurried away 
to muster a sufficient number of his Germans to fol- 
low in reserve. 

Soon Fraser's column was across the flat open 
ground back of Mount Independence. The light 
infantry was moving fast, and the big grenadiers at 
the rear of the column were moving at a jog trot to 


close up. If the men expected coolness in the shade 
of the forest, they were doomed to disappointment. 
The woods were still, and as hot as fur, and the 
track, along which they traveled almost at a run, 
was deeply rutted; insects tormented faces streaked 
with rivulets of sweat. The soldiers had not eaten 
since the previous day and were hungry until 
thirst claimed their whole attention. At the first hill 
the pace slackened, and at one o'clock Fraser called 
a halt for rest. Quiet returned to the forest as the 
men slept, oblivious to the torment of insects, heed- 
less of the stain made by forest mould on white 
trousers and pipe-clayed belts. 

Later in the afternoon, Riedesel caught up with 
the British column. With him were the Jagers, a 
handful of von Earner's blue-coated riflemen, and 
some grenadiers not more than eighty in all. The 
Germans were as tired as the Englishmen had been. 
They slumped to the ground, giving a tail of varie- 
gated hue to the red and white body of the British 
column snaking along the brown slash of the track. 

After the two generals had conferred, Fraser 
roused his own men and marched them three miles 
further toward Hubbardton. The effects of the heat, 
hunger, and fatigue were still evident, and the men 
were in no condition to fight, not even against the 
American rebels who, in all probability, were as ex- 
hausted as themselves. On a defensible ridge, Fraser 
fell out his corps. As the men settled in, the officers 
circulated among them warning of a 3:00 a.m. rev- 


For two hours, Major Robert Grant of the 24th 
Foot led the picquet of light infantrymen down the 
forest path into the growing light of dawn. From a 
saddle between two small frills, the road dipped into 
a valley through which Grant judged that there 
probably ran a good brook. They were getting into 
the mountains now, and soon could expect to cut 
into the north-south road from Crown Point to Hub- 
bardton and Castleton. The road was not new to 
Major Grant; he had traveled it some twenty years 
earlier as a provincial officer, before he had secured 
the King's Commission. Now he swung off down the 
trail, the light infantrymen, as alert as rangers, close 
behind him. At the bottom of the hill, the woods 
ended in a clearing. Grant marched out from under 
the trees. There was the brook he had expected to 
find, its bank lined with American soldiers! The 
Yankees were splashing water in their faces and over 
their bare chests and shoulders, while in the roughly 
cleared field beyond, the rest of the regiment was 
preparing breakfast. Behind the major, the light in- 
fantry was pouring out of the woods and deploying 
without orders. To direct their disposition, Grant 
mounted a nearby stump and turning around, gave 
the order to fire. At that instant, a rifle ball killed him 

The Americans had been taken completely by sur- 
prise. It was Colonel Nathan Hale's New Hampshire 
Continentals, who, with the invalids and the strag- 
glers, comprised the rear guard. Colonel Hale at- 
tempted to organize some land of resistance. But 


more and more British debouched from the road, and 
he was forced to fall back with his outnumbered 
forces. The British line came steadily on, the light 
infantry on the left, the 24th on the right. Hale saw 
his second in command fall and his men flee into the 
woods. He himself was enveloped in the advancing 
line of redcoats, and was made prisoner. 

Pausing only to fix bayonets, the British line ad- 
vanced across the brook. Again in the forest, they 
felt the sting of American musket fire, not in volley, 
but individual shots from behind trees, rocks, and 
bushes. Under control of their officers, the British 
advanced cautiously in the line of skirmish forced on 
them by the trees, catching the occasional Yankee 
in his firing position and stolidly accepting their own 

General Fraser, his small headquarters group run- 
ning after him, had taken over direct command. His 
reconnaissance had fixed the position of the main 
body of the American rear guard as up a hill in 
roughly prepared works, covering the track from 
Mount Independence at its juncture with the north- 
south road leading to Castleton. On the southern 
flank of the American position there was a steep hill 
which controlled the entire battle. If the British held 
this hill, the Americans' escape route to the south was 
cut, and reinforcements could not get through from 
St. Glair's main army, presumed to be at Castleton. 
On the other hand, if tie Americans held the hill, a 
British assault would be caught in enfilade fire. Fraser 
wanted that hill. 


The task of taking it was given to Major John 
Acland and his grenadiers. It was hands and knees, 
push, pull, and scramble up the steep slope. At the 
top, the grenadiers barely had time to unsling their 
muskets to meet and drive back the Yankees, who 
had been sent out to seize the same objective. Red- 
faced and bare-headed as he wiped out the sweat- 
band of his grenadier's bearskin with his handker- 
chief, Acland sent two of his companies to his left 
to cover the right flank of the 24th. He could mark 
them by their musket fire, as they advanced in the 
woods on the other side of the clearing. 

They appeared to be meeting with some success, 
and Acland was not surprised to see sixty Yankees 
come out into the clearing, their guns clubbed in the 
generally accepted token of surrender. "Stand with 
your arms!" was the order to the two companies of 
grenadiers, as they relaxed to accept the rebel pris- 
oners. Thirty feet away the Americans stopped; each 
side looked the other in the eye. There was a quick 
motion in the Yankee line, as clubbed muskets were 
swung 'round and fired from the hip in a hard volley 
at point-blank range. The impact on the British was 
audible in screams, curses, and gasps, as the line 
staggered back. Then with a savage roar the gren- 
adiers surged forward to carry the long bayonets to 
the "sniveling, sneaking, dirty, low-born rebels!" It 
was the charge of the wounded bear, and it carried 
the big grenadiers in among the dogs that had hurt 
them. Back on the starting Hne, redcoats were down, 
wounded and dead. When their mates returned, 


they could assure the casualtes that they had been 

There was fire fighting all along the line, from 
Acland's grenadiers on the right to the Earl of Bal- 
carres, commanding the light infantry half a mile 
away on the left. In the center, General Fraser could 
sense no gainful advance against the strong fire from 
the American position. All his troops were engaged. 
None were left with which to reach around on the 
American flank. Nearby was General Riedesel, stalk- 
ing up and down and cursing at his troops, who had 
not run as fast as he to get to the sound of the firing. 
At the sound of a hunting horn down the track, 
Riedesel raced off to intercept his ] tigers at the brook. 
Those English officers who had hunted in Europe 
recognized the clear sound of the silver-coiled horn, 
and identified the call as the "greeting fanfare." The 
music seemed to drift off to the left behind Balcarres, 
as the hunting call changed to the faster, more 
staccato "veline." Then rifle fire drew volley fire out 
beyond the American right, at which the whole 
British line moved forward as Riedesel and eighty 
of his Germans, Jdgers and grenadiers, turned the 
American flank. 

With his two colonels now casualties, his escape 
road to Castleton cut off, on his right riflemen that a 
Green Mountain boy could respect, and battle-wise 
regulars coming on in front, Colonel Seth Warner of 
the Vermont Continentals did what any experienced 
ranger would have done. He cut and ran straight up 
the mountain at his back. His men followed, a few 


of them dropping off to climb a tree or to stretch out 
along a rock in tie hope of one last aimed shot. The 
Battle of Hubbardton was over; there was no pursuit. 

All up and down the road stood tired British and 
German troops, counting off the scouts and picquets 
and guards. The remainder were sent back along 
their route from the brook to search out the wounded 
and dead. There were many of these. Fifteen officers 
had been hit by the considered fire of the Yankees. 
Balcarres had been wounded, though not seriously. 
As Acland came off his hilltop to report to Fraser, he 
limped heavily from a wound in his thigh. There 
were many American dead, too. On Acland's hill; a 
drummer boy found the body of Colonel Ebenezer 
Francis, who had commanded the llth Massachu- 
setts Continentals. Even in the untidy disarray of 
death in battle, his fine, well-proportioned figure was 
remarked upon by the grenadier officers who had 
gathered around. Captain Shrimpton was reading 
through the dead man's papers when a rifle cracked 
and the captain dropped, wounded, over the corpse. 
No one saw the hidden rifleman, and no one found 
him; only the sharp report of his rifle had been heard. 

Soon it began to rain. 


A Regiment of Foot 

While the Hubbardton force was binding up its 
wounds on the slopes of the eastern mountains, an- 
other of General Burgoyne's regiments was moving 
through the rainstorms to the ground where it, too, 
would meet the American soldiers in battle. At night- 
fall on 7 July, two hundred soldiers of the 9th Regi- 
ment of Foot made a fortified bivouac at the mouth of 
the defile, where Wood Creek enters the Champlain 
Valley. To the south, and in front of the regiment, lay 
a bay like the arm of an undulating forest sea, its 
shores the dark mountains, its depths the bed of the 
Hudson River. A mile beyond the bivouac Fort Anne, 
held by the Yankees, was a hostile island. 

In its almost one hundred years of existence the 
regiment had earned its nickname of "The Fighting 
Ninth/' Raised in Gloucestershire in 1685 to put 
down the Monmouth Rebellion, it had moved to 
Ireland to help in quelling the long-continuing trou- 
bles of that pugnacious isle. While it had made up 
a part of the English garrison there, many Irishmen 
had joined the ranks of the 9th, contributing to the 



fighting reputation of the regiment, both at home 
and on expeditions overseas. In 1769 the regiment 
had returned to Ireland after seven years* service in 
tropical North America. Its ranks were depleted, 
both officers and men sickly after long years in the 
fever-climate of British Florida, following on the 
rigors and casualties of the siege of Havana, on the 
island of Cuba. By 1776, when once again the 9th 
was called upon this time to go to the relief of 
Quebec and to suppress yet another rebellion, it was 
fighting fit. Its ranks had been filled by new recruits 
from Ireland, from England, and a few men from 
George Ill's German kingdom of Hanover. Under 
the harsh tutelage of the veteran sergeants, the new- 
comers had soon learned the drill and discipline 
which imbued them with the spirit of the old 9th of 
Foot. Lieutenant Colonel John Hill took the regi- 
ment to Canada. As was the custom in the British 
army, the titular colonel, Lieutenant General Ed- 
ward, Viscount Ligonier, was far too exalted a per- 
sonage to concern himself with the command of a 
single regiment. In John Hill, the 9th had a metic- 
ulous professional soldier with thirty years of com- 
missioned service behind him, with little hope of 
promotion, but enjoying the respect of his fellows 
and the reliance of his superiors. 

When, in 1777, the 9th became the senior regi- 
ment of Brigadier General Powell's Second Brigade, 
it was near full strength of six hundred men. Colonel 
Hill, however, had under command only some four 
hundred muskets in the eight line companies. As was 


the case with colonels commanding other regiments, 
Hill's grenadier and light infantry companies had 
been seconded into a grenadier battalion and a light 
infantry battalion, both of which were under com- 
mand of the advance corps. In addition, fifty of the 
older soldiers were left behind as a regimental depot 
and cadre in Canada. 

Upon leaving St. Jean, the 9th had rowed and 
sailed itself up Lake Champlain, landing at Crown 
Point. The regiment had then marched up to Ticon- 
deroga and gone into the line at the barbette battery 
on Mount Hope, when, at dawn on 6 July, Burgoyne 
discovered that St. Glair's army had escaped him. 

Sensing the confusion of the morning, Colonel Hill 
fell in the 9th and made it ready for any eventuality. 
Thus it was found by a galloping staff officer, who 
hurried it down to the boats. Already the great bar- 
rier bridge from Ticonderoga to Mount Independ- 
ence had been breached, and the tall frigates, the 
Royal George and the Inflexible, were tacking in the 
wide lake south of the forts, waiting impatiently for 
the gunboats and infantry bateaux, so it could begin 
the pursuit of those Yankees who had gone by water 
to Skenesborough. All during the morning and into 
the afternoon, the 9th followed the big ships through 
the narrow channel of the Lake Champlain marshes. 
The July sun was still high as the pursuing British 
came out onto South Bay, and the frigates, safely 
through the confining corridor, shook out their white 
sails and swanned out over the bay like hoop-skirted 
ladies entering a ballroom. 


A watchboat swung in close to Colonel Hill, with 
orders from Burgoyne to land his troops up the bay 
on the east shore. The boat then sheared off in search 
of Colonel John Lind and Major Squire, of the 20th 
and 21st regiments, respectively, who would be 
making the landing with Hill's 9th. According to 
Burgoyne's plan the three infantry regiments would 
cross over the mountain on the east shore of South 
Bay and block the road to Fort Anne while the gun- 
boats would sail boldly into the Skenesborough basin, 
sink the vessels to be found there, and drive the 
rebels on shore and up the road, where the infantry 
waited to receive them. 

Viewed from the lake, the mountain that Colonel 
Hill was set to cross was deceptive. Its trees, which 
seemed to promise cool shade from the hot July sun, 
in reality hid a dense undergrowth that held the day's 
heat and sheltered a myriad of buzzing, biting insects. 
The slope, which from a distance appeared so gentle, 
was in fact either steep or precipitous, with rock out- 
croppings and ledges criss-crossed with wind-felled 
trees. The landing itself was a wet one, bringing the 
soldiers to the foot of the cruel mountain discom- 
forted by wet feet and mud-caked legs. 

In the vault of the forest, with the bulk of the 
mountain intervening, John Hill did not hear the 
wild cannonade of the Royal Artillery's gunboats as 
they caught the Yankee fleet in the pool below the 
falls at Skenesborough and took possession of the 
Americans* baggage at the landing place. Above the 
beating of his heart and the throbbing in his ears as 


he struggled up the mountain, the middle-aged colo- 
nel did hear the two great explosions as the American 
warships were blown up, one after the other. At these 
sounds of distant action, Hill redoubled his efforts to 
assault the difficult mountain. His own honor, as well 
as that of the regiment, was at stake. With the Royal 
Artillery already engaged, Colonel Hill, in effect, was 
racing the 20th and the 21st to the expected battle- 
ground, in the age-old rivalry, keen as a bayonet, that 
is the whetstone of morale. 

But the pace up the mountain was slow, and long 
before the three regiments had reached the western 
summit, the recall gun sounded from the frigates, far 
below in the bay. The rebels had gone. The honor of 
the action went to the Royal Artillery. 

When the 9th marched into Skenesborough at 
dusk, they found a sizable frontier town. The falls of 
Wood Creek turned a big sawmill. Sheds and ware- 
houses lined the shore behind the shipyard, where, 
in 1776, General Benedict Arnold had built the fleet 
which for a year had held back the British. Three of 
Arnold's vessels were now beached and abandoned 
below the falls. A large, sprawling, stockaded fort 
overlooked the works, and untidy barracks could be 
seen by the men of the 9th as they trooped past the 
wide-open gate. They passed by a tenant house re- 
sembling a dwelling in a Scottish glen; then another, 
built in the French Canadian manner. The latter had 
a cannon-ball hole alongside the lintel. Across the 
water, Major Philip Skene's big stone house could be 
glimpsed on the north shore among its shade trees. 


From the boatloads of baggage being unloaded at its 
wharf, and from the activity of staff officers and serv- 
ants around the doorway, Colonel Hill judged that 
the manor house already had been made army head- 

The 9th marched through the town, taking the 
portage road around the falls to the launching place 
on Wood Creek. There the regiment halted, broke 
ranks, and made camp. 

There were no boats on the foreshore of the stream. 
They had all gone south with the sick and wounded 
and the women of the rebel army. The healthy had 
gone by the road that followed the course of the 
creek. Colonel Hill and his adjutant strolled a few 
yards up the road in the cool of the late evening, but 
turned back where the road entered the woods. 

From the 9th*s fortified bivouac, a mile from Fort 
Anne, at the entrance to the Hudson Valley, it was 
ten miles back to Skenesborough and the comforting 
companionship of the 20th and 21st. It was also a 
full day's march. All during the hot, humid, shower- 
drenched day of 7 July, Colonel Hill's soldiers had 
been on the road, working like a corvSe of French 
Canadian laborers. Their efforts had cleared a way 
through the worst of the delaying damage done to 
the road by the retreating Americans, so that now, as 
they settled down for the night, they felt secure in 
the knowledge that the way behind them was open 
for reinforcements in men and packhorse guns, 
should the rebels attack in the morning. 


The first Yankee to appear on the morning of 8 
July was a bedraggled deserter, who came sneaking 
in at sun-up, protesting his loyalty to King George. 
The man had restless eyes that looked everywhere 
and saw everything. Colonel Hill interviewed him 
and from the man's obsequious outpourings and 
loud volunteering to 'list for a King's soldier culled 
the information that at Fort Anne, Colonel Long's 
New Hampshire Continentals had been reinforced 
by Colonel Van Rensselaer's militia, bringing the gar- 
rison up to a thousand men. 

With his own troops numbering a scant two hun- 
dred (the movement up the Fort Anne road was a 
reconnaissance in force by half of a regiment, not a 
general advance), Colonel Hill passed the order to 
his officers to hold where they stood. To advance his 
small force against a reinforced enemy fort would be 
foolhardy; to retreat back down the road would be 
to invite ambush and attack on an extended column 
in thick woods. In their present position, Hill esti- 
mated that the 9th could hold until General Burgoyne 
sent reinforcements to mount an attack or to extricate 
the regiment. All this was put into a situation report, 
and sent by messenger to Skenesborough. 

When next the colonel had time to notice him, the 
Yankee deserter was nowhere to be found. Half an 
hour later the Americans attacked. 

In front of Hill's field works, where the dense 
underbrush thinned out to give a distant view of Fort 
Anne on its eminence, the British picquets watched 
the Americans form up. Groups of carelessly dressed 


men emerged from behind the fort, drew together for 
a moment to cross over a foot-bridge, and then, with 
much shouting back and forth, spread out on both 
sides of the road leading to the British position. When 
once shaken out and away from his neighbor, the in- 
dividual American appeared to grow calm with pur- 
pose, as the men formed quickly into rough lines. 
The military groups of platoons and companies 
seemed to have dissolved, and the British saw ad- 
vancing toward them many single figures, each one 
picking his own way around, or over, or through, the 
brush and stumps of the partially cleared ground. 
The Yankees carried their muskets carelessly at the 
trail, or easily, high across the chest, or jauntily 
sloped over their shoulders. None of the muskets had 
bayonets. Like the spy of the early morning, the men 
had restless, curious eyes; every head in the advanc- 
ing line seemed to be constantly turning, looking, 
peering, as though expecting to tread on a rattlesnake 
at every step. The Americans were silent now, as 
they met the fire from the British picquet line. The 
volley broke the American line, which retired, drift- 
ing back on itself as casually as it had advanced. 

A second attack followed quickly on the first, but 
this time the officer in command of the picquet ob- 
served more obvious and familiar control, as Colonel 
Long's Continentals took over the initiative from 
Colonel Van Rensselaer's militia. Light blue uniforms 
predominated, bayonets caught the glint of the sun, 
and back at the bridge two regimental colors were 
being shaken out before joining the advancing lines. 


Having forced a general deployment of the Yankee 
force, the British picquet retired into its own lines. 
These consisted of a hastily and ill-prepared screen 
of logs and brush on the west side of Wood Creek, 
extending a scant two hundred yards from the alders 
on the banks of the stream on the left to the foot of a 
rocky promontory on the right. Working with camp 
axes, knives, and their bare hands, the men of the 
9th had succeeded in clearing only a few yards of 
brush from their front. It remained a knee-deep 
tangle of withering green branches across which the 
Yankees must charge into the face of a British volley. 
But the British front afforded no ground suitable for 
a counter attack with the bayonet. Colonel Hill was 
on the defensive. 

Quietly, the 9th waited, its men, in rank behind the 
barricade, questioning in whispers the men of the 
picquet, who already had seen the Yankee soldiers. 
The officers, standing calmly and tolerantly behind 
their command, sprang to rigid attention as Colonel 
Hill came to give each of them a final report and a 
word of instruction. Then, as the colonel passed on, 
in a little procession with his adjutant and the boy 
drummer in a yellow coat, the military tableau 
melted back into the natural pose of English gentle- 
men oblivious to danger. Under the protecting face 
of a rocky ledge, the regimental surgeon waited with 
his assistant, Sergeant Robert Lamb, carrying his bag 
of instruments, dressings, and medicine. Jane Cromer, 
the wife of a soldier, busied herself nearby, clearing 
the ground of stones and sticks in order to make a 
place for the wounded. 


The surgeon and his assistant were off at the first 
crack of enemy musket fire, and heard the British 
return volley while bending over their first casualty. 
They were still busy with the wounded when the 
Americans came on again. Then the two medical men 
became separated for a time, as Lamb strove to col- 
lect the severely wounded at Jane Cromer's impro- 
vised hospital, while the surgeon went off to follow 
the fortunes of Lieutenant Richard Westroop's com- 
pany in a counter attack. 

Temporarily, the whole company was lost to sight 
behind the green curtain of underbrush, and only 
cries and shouts and the sudden crack of musket fire 
marked its progress. At last the troops returned, 
elated and triumphant, shoving their prisoners before 
them and dragging behind them the battle flags of 
Long's Continentals. Lieutenant Westroop failed to 
return with his company; a corporal reported having 
seen him fall, and on turning over the body, had 
found the lieutenant shot through the heart. The 
company clamored to return for their officer, but a 
seventeen-year-old subaltern steadied the men down 
and got them back to their posts, to receive the next 
Yankee attack. 

The captured flags were sent to Colonel Hill, who 
was found on the bank of Wood Creek, anxiously 
..listening, and watching the woods on the other side 
of the stream. Above the undulation of sound that 
washed up and down his battle line in a roar of surf- 
like volleys, and the individual American rifle fire 
that crackled like a wave receding over the shingle 
at Brighton, Hill had. detected the sound of men 


calling to each other across the flat calm of Wood 
Creek. He listened for confirmation of the fact that 
the Yankees were turning his left flank and, by re- 
crossing the stream, gaining the rear of his position. 
The colonel saw the muzzle flash, felt the passage of 
the ball, and heard the shocked exclamation of his 
adjutant as the shot struck home. The Americans 
were across Wood Creek, and the position of the 
British was untenable. 

Leaving his adjutant with a wounded shoulder, 
Colonel Hill dashed off to organize a general with- 
drawal from the left, to a new position on the steep 
hill to the rear and right of the 9th. 

Captain William Montgomery's company, holding 
the British left, were on a front which was temporar- 
ily quiet. Squad by squad, the regulars turned from 
the barricade and jogged off toward the mountain. 
Captain Montgomery himself lay flat on his back, 
trying, by cramming a handkerchief into his mouth, 
to hold back to a groan the scream in his throat. 
Seated hard on the captain's abdomen was Sergeant 
Lamb, pressing with strong thumbs on the big artery 
in the groin, which already had pumped a stream of 
red blood over Montgomery's white buckskin 
breeches. The regimental surgeon was working 
quickly in the wound to find and tie off the severed 
end of the artery. 

A hundred yards away, Colonel Van Rensselaer, of 
the great colonial family of the Hudson Elver, was 
also down in the brush, suffering from a shattered 
bone in the leg. For the moment, however, he felt 


little pain, and his heavy Dutch voice could be heard 
clearly through the woods, interpreting as retreat the 
silence in the British lines, and urging his New York 
militia to attack . . . attack . . . attack! 

The surgeon had located the end of the artery, 
worked a loop of the ligature over it, and had drawn 
the knot tight. Captain Montgomery had fainted. 
Sergeant Lamb's work with the captain was done. 
He and the surgeon hurriedly consulted together, and 
as the first Yankee stepped cautiously out through the 
underbrush, Lamb rose to his feet and ran for the 
mountain. The surgeon was still at work on the 
operation in hand, when both he and his patient were 
taken prisoner. 

British and Americans alike were now short of am- 
munition. Already the battle had continued for three 
long hours. To the north, toward Skenesborough, 
black clouds roiled above the mountains, and there 
was a distant rumble of thunder. Against this ominous 
continue, the sharp sound of a rifle came like the 
snap of a broken fiddle-string in the heavy, still air 
that muted the hill and the opposed bands of soldiers. 

Somewhere, distantly and vaguely, between the 
f ar-off rumble and the nearby quiet, the sound of yet 
another instrument was introduced. It was the long, 
continuing yell of an Indian war whoop, repeated and 
repeated, again and again. With it came a slowly ris- 
ing elation among the British, pinned to their hill- 
top, while below them the Yankees, on hearing the 
eerie sound, picked up their powder horns and shot 
bags and slipped away. The Americans were all too 


familiar with the war whoop of the savages, which 
turned their thoughts to their women and children, 
alone in isolated cabins on scattered farms. 

Colonel Hill was standing in the middle of the 
Skenesborough road when a single British officer, his 
uniform coat over his arm, came striding around a 
bend in the road. The newcomer stopped short. Then 
he threw back his head, gave a "Whoop! Whoop! 
Whoop!," and with a grin, bowed to the colonel. 
There were no other "Indians." On hearing the sound 
of gunfire, those who had started out with the British 
had refused to go any further, so the officer had come 
on alone, whooping as he came, to inform the 9th that 
General Phillips was coming up presently with two 
guns and two regiments; the rain had delayed them. 

By nightfall the battleground was all but deserted. 
Phillips had arrived with his relief force to escort 
the battered and Yankee-wise 9th back to Skenes- 
borough. The Americans had gone from Fort Anne 
all five hundred of them. The deserter/spy had re- 
ported at exactly double the Yankee strength at the 
fort. General Philip Schuyler had ordered Colonel 
Long to hold at Fort Anne until the brass ordnance 
could be removed from the fort at the southern end 
of Lake George. Long's battle on 8 July had gained 
for Schuyler the time he needed. 

Fort Anne itself had been burned. Sergeant Lamb 
could see the smoke still rising above the trees, as he 
and Jane Cromer tried to make their wounded 
charges comfortable before night. A deserted hut 


had been discovered on the western slope of the hill, 
and it was there that the twenty-three British 
wounded had been carried. Through all the follow- 
ing week, alone in the woods, Sergeant Lamb cared 
for his comrades with all the rude skill at his com- 
mand, while Jane Cromer attended to their needs as 
iest she could. 


Major Skene' s Great Stone House 

Philip Skene left the Royal George in South Bay and 
went immediately to his manor house, so that, as 
laird of Skenesborough, he might be on the threshold 
to welcome the man who had restored his property 
to him General John Burgoyne. 

Skene had not been in residence in May 1775 
when the Whig rabble had seized his house and 
property and taken prisoner his son and two daugh- 
ters. Since that topsy-turvy day, Philip Skene him- 
self had been jailed as a Tory, but had contrived his 
own release and the exchange of his son. In an act 
of chivalry curiously at odds with its usual behavior, 
the mob later had returned his daughters to him. 
Soon afterward, he had gone to London, where, using 
the same influence that in the 1760*8 had secured for 
him the large key grants of land at the Lake Cham- 
plain-Hudson River gateway, he had made his voice 
heard in the council shaping the scheme that was to 
send Burgoyne through those same grants. Major 
Skene had come out to Canada as political adviser to 
the expedition. His duty it was to advise the general 



on local affairs, and to screen and organize the coun- 
try people who, according to the major's firm Tory 
conviction, would welcome the British soldiers as 
liberators from the Whig oppression. His canny 
Scotch hope was for a new colony between New 
York and Canada, with himself as governor and his 
own manor house at the head of Lake Champlain as 
its capitol. 

Two years of occupation by rebel soldiery had left 
the house in no fit condition to receive an illustrious 
guest, but the general's own furniture would make it 
adequate, even luxurious, as headquarters for the 
British officers. The last case of the general's wine 
had been carried into the springhouse and the cook- 
fires had been lighted in the summer kitchen when 
Skene was advised of the approach of the general's 
barge. The polished craft, its eight painted oarblades 
dipping rhythmically into the water, headed for the 
manor house dock, where Burgoyne's host waited to 
welcome him. On the other side of the pool, Captain 
John Carter, whose gunboats had recaptured Skenes- 
borough, ordered a gun salute which brought soldiers 
in their shirtsleeves running to the water's edge to 
cheer for "Gentleman Johnny." 

Between the rising of the sun and its setting on that 
6th day of July 1777, General John Burgoyne had 
entered in triumph Fort Ticonderoga and Skenesbor- 
ough, two of those places which, on a map spread out 
on a London dining-table, had seemed so very distant 
and so very formidable. Burgoyne's generals, Fraser 
and Riedesel, were in close pursuit of a fleeing rebel 


army. On the morrow he would send a force down 
the Hudson, to chivvy along the rebel rear guard, 
which appeared to have abandoned at Skenesborough 
all the baggage of the American army. Tonight he 
would dine as the guest of his political adviser, and 
would break out a few bottles of his best champagne, 
already set in the spring water to cool. 

In forcing the fortress of Ticonderoga without a 
siege, Burgoyne was in the position of a man who 
puts his shoulder to a door he expects to find locked 
and barred. Instead of entering the room, he bursts 
into it, and through it. It was thus that the general 
now found himself at Skenesborough, twenty miles 
down a road that he had not intended to follow, with 
his army asprawl over a hundred square miles of the 

While still in England, Burgoyne had seriously 
considered marching to the Hudson and Fort Edward 
by way of Skenesborough and Fort Anne. Finally, 
however, he had decided to take the water route over 
the lake, despite the prospect of another siege to 
capture the fort at Lake George's southern end. The 
Skenesborough-Fort Edward road was only a wagon 
track at best, while the portage roads at both ends of 
Lake George were well-built highways that had 
sustained the travel of many armies for twenty years. 

Comfortably ensconced in Major Skene's big house, 
General Burgoyne was loath to return to the fort in 
the road at Ticonderoga. In the drill with the bayonet 
a successful lunge is never followed by a return to 
the "on guard** position; instead, the point of the 


bayonet continues to be presented, and the advantage 
is pressed by short jabs. So, off balance after his wild 
thrust through an empty fort at Ticonderoga, Bur- 
goyne decided to alter his plans. After regrouping his 
battalions at the Skenesborough point, he would jab 
through to Fort Edward. At Ticonderoga, the stock- 
piling of materiel and transport, which had been 
scheduled to run concurrently with the siege, must 
be completed as quickly as possible in order to give 
weight and strength to the lunge down the Hudson 
River to Albany. 

On 8 July, in the first move to concentrate the 
brigades at Skenesborough, General Riedesel brought 
his Germans from the eastern slopes, via the Castle- 
ton road. Marching warily along the same forest road 
on the following day, General Fraser reunited his 
Hubbardton force with the rest of his advance corps 
in a camp above the falls at Skene's sawmill. After 
extricating Colonel Hill from his victorious dilemma 
at Fort Anne, Phillips set the defenses at Skenes- 
borough before giving his full attention to the re- 
organization of the artillery establishment. 

Of the one hundred and twenty-eight cannon, only 
sixty-six could, or would, be maintained by the army 
after Lake Champlain and the fleet of naval vessels 
had been left behind. Thirty-eight guns would march 
in the field train; it was a heavy proportion, but 
Phillips was a "gunner." A siege train of twenty-eight 
pieces would go with the baggage evidence of the 
respect in which, since Bunker Hill, Burgoyne held 
the Americans as builders of field fortifications. 

Beyond Ticonderoga, where the attenuated siege 


train and the heavy baggage of the army would take 
the Lake George route, thereby establishing the main 
supply line, an adequate supply of horses became the 
key to the success of the whole expedition. Horses 
were needed, with their drivers and their carts, to 
haul the boats over the portage road to Lake George; 
later, they would be needed for a like purpose, to 
carry yet more boats from Lake George to the Hud- 
son. A herd of horses had been driven from Canada 
down the west shore of Lake Champlain, and had 
reached Ticonderoga. But there were never enough 
of the beasts, and army orders had been promulgated, 
exhorting, threatening, and expropriating an addi- 
tional supply. The Indians were offered inducements 
to bring in any horses they might find in the woods, 
and Mr. Hoakesly, the wagonmaster general, was 
constantly on the alert to conserve the strength and 

numbers of his overworked animals. 

While his subordinates carried out the tactical 
preparations which must be made before his army 
could advance in either a jab or a lunge, Burgoyne 
moved Riedesel and his whole division to Castleton, 
twelve miles east of Skenesborough. This move was 
intended to be interpreted by rebel spies as the be- 
ginning of a general invasion of New England by way 
of the Connecticut River. With such a threat at their 
backs, the New Englanders would hesitate to send 
troops into New York to bolster the defenses of the 
Hudson River line. 

Six mean small huts comprised the village of 


Castleton. The baron, well acquainted with the 
soldier psychology, did not consider it a good pkce 
for his Brunswickers and Hanauers. Far better for 
the German troops to be in the crowded lakeside 
town, even if it meant an occasional fight in the grog- 
shops with their British allies. The idleness the men 
would find at Castleton, deep in the terrible, un- 
familiar wilderness, might well bring on the lassitude 
and homesickness that could shatter the brittle Ger- 
man discipline, based as it was on fear. 

Through the passes of the Green Mountains, 
threatened and guarded by Riedesel, lay the town 
of Rockingham, surrounded by the fertile country of 
the Connecticut. There, so the general's intelligence 
sources informed him, many horses could be found, as 
well as stores and wagons for the taking. With this in 
view, Riedesel proposed to Burgoyne a foraging ex- 
pedition for his idle Germans one which would 
emphasize the strategic threat to New England, serve 
to harass the lurking forces of "Von Werner," as the 
baron called Warner, the Yankee colonel of Hubbard- 
ton, and, last but not least, produce mounts for the 
Brunswick dragoons. With horses, Prinz Ludwig's 
Regiment of Dragoons, Colonel Frederick Baum com- 
manding, could be made to serve a useful purpose 
instead of being the butt of the army's jokes, as they 
waddled about in their great boots, dragging their 
sabers behind them. But even this appeal by a former 
Black Hussar to the colonel of the finest light dragoon 
regiment in the British army, brought no action. 

Burgoyne was sympathetic but too preoccupied 


with tactical problems for the move south to give any 
consideration to Riedesel's plan for an eastern di- 
version. Graciously, he sent some bottles of Rhine 
wine to his division commander, with the suggestion 
that the baroness be sent for, to share in the wine and 
in the progress of the expedition to Albany. 

The other ladies of the army were also invited to 
join their husbands: Mrs. Major Harnage and Mrs. 
Lieutenant Reynolds, and, of course, Burgoyne's re- 
sponsive friend, the wife of an ambitious and acquies- 
cent commissary. Even as the gentlemen waited, 
Lady Harriet Acland, without benefit of order or in- 
vitation, was coming by fast canoe to nurse the fever 
brought on by the deep wound in her husband's 

Major Acland's grenadiers had made a litter, on 
which they had carried him all the difficult way from 
Hubbardton to Skenesborough. He fared better than 
those wounded with him on the hill at Hubbardton, 
who had to wait in brush shelters for doctors to come 
to them from Ticonderoga, and then for horse trans- 
port to carry them back to the hospital at the fort. 

No one came for the wounded in the derelict hut 
near Fort Anne. It was a week before Sergeant Lamb 
and Jane Cromer felt that those of their patients who 
had survived were well enough to undertake the 
journey to Skenesborough. The men straggled 
through the woods, limping, staggering, supporting 
each other, suffering as much from cabin fever as 
from the throbbing pain of their wounds. 

No one had come near them since the battle except 


for a single wounded Yankee, who had lost his way 
and stumbled in on the British quite by accident. He 
had gone away again, grateful for the care he had 
received and keeping the secret of the sick camp in 
the woods. But the Americans were never far away. 
All day long, and late into the summer evenings, 
Lamb and his wounded had heard them on the road, 
their presence betrayed by the sound of their tools 
axes and saws and picks. At intervals, the soldiers 
of the 9th heard the warning shout that preceded 
the crashing down across the road of a great hemlock 
tree, or the prying loose of a boulder on the moun- 
tain, which rolled thunderingly down to Wood Creek. 
As one after another, the days of pain and anxiety fol- 
lowing the long, hot nights, during which many of the 
wounded died, the sounds of demolition receded 
southward past the charred ruins of Fort Anne. When 
at last Sergeant Lamb broke camp, the distant chunk- 
ing of the axes was a sensation rather than a sound, 
like an echo, confusing reality with memory. 

General Philip Schuyler was fighting General Bur- 
goyne with what he had. His plea for reinforcements 
had gone unanswered. Schuyler had left the men of 
the Mohawk Valley to meet Barry St. Leger's threat 
from the west, while he hurried north to give comfort, 
if he could not give aid, to St. Clair. Schuyler's troops 
were too few to alter St. Glair's decision to give up 
Fort Ticonderoga, and they were too late to join in 
the rout. Coming up to Fort Edward with Burgoyne 
only twenty-three miles away, Schuyler's northern 
army stood, seven hundred Continentals and twice 


that number of militia. Long and Van Rensseker had 
held off the first British foray, while the valuable 
guns were being removed from the fort on Lake 

Still hoping for, and expecting, reinforcements 
from Congress, Schuyler now set his woods-wise 
militia to the task of delaying the British. Up the 
wagon track they marched in work gangs, their tools 
on their shoulders. They approached as near to 
Skenesborough as they dared. Then, as they fell 
slowly back, they obliterated the road behind them 
in a mass of flooded causeways and broken bridges. 
Sergeant Lamb heard the Americans at their work; 
General Burgoyne appeared to give them no heed. 

In the cool of the stone manor, Burgoyne was hew- 
ing at his own tall tree behind the American lines, 
his tools the pen, the jingling purse, and the four men 
who came furtively into the candle-lit room and were 
gone before sunrise. Schuyler was under attack by 
the New England faction of the Continental Con- 
gress and its army. In an attempt to bring down the 
mighty Schuyler, Burgoyne was presumed to be in 
contact with the New York general, whom he and 
Skene hoped to bring back to loyalty in a thundering 
crash that would shiver the lesser men of America. 
As an Englishman, Burgoyne could not understand 
the native loyalty of the Schuylers; nor could Skene, 
the transplanted laird, credit it. Schuyler contin- 
ued the correspondence (before witnesses) in order 
to buy time, heedless of the whispering storm around 
him. It was a pretty story that he and St. Clair had 


sold Ticonderoga for silver bullets, fired into the fort 
by Burgoyne's marksmen! Many loyalties wavered, 
but never that of Philip Schuyler. 

Almost four weeks had passed since General Bur- 
goyne had issued his bombastic proclamation, calling 
the Americans back to loyalty to the Crown. A 
Yankee burlesque of that proclamation was brought 
to the British general at Skenesborough, and he could 
read it with genuine amusement six hundred Amer- 
ican men came with it. They were quickly absorbed 
into the man-hungry Tory regiments, led by such 
men as the Jessup brothers, John Peters, Daniel Mc- 
Alpin, Francis Pfister, and Colonel Houston of Sara- 
toga. Some, with experience as watermen and fa- 
miliar with the rivers and their crafts, joined Hugh 
Monro's company of bateaumen. Most of the six hun- 
dred came without weapons; none had military train- 
ing in the British army sense. Their usefulness to 
Burgoyne lay in their homely civilian skill as axemen, 
to clear the trees from the road to Fort Edward, and, 
as pioneers, to rebuild the bridges and drain the 

With a patrol of rangers and engineers, Lieutenant 
Twiss made a survey of the demolitions, measuring 
the streams, counting the bridges and culverts to be 
rebuilt, and staking out long stretches where it would 
be necessary to build corduroy causeways. Writing 
on his knee, the engineer officer then made an esti- 
mate of the time, in man hours, required to repair 
the damage. His report on the twenty-three miles of 
road to Fort Edward was a formidable one, but not 


discouraging. Burgoyne made his final decision. All 
thought of retracing his way over the eighty miles 
of road to Ticonderoga, to travel the waterway up 
Lake George, could be abandoned. 

The army began its march to the Hudson on 24 
July. As usual, Fraser's advance corps led, if indeed it 
could be called leading. More often than not, the 
men stood at ease, slapping mosquitoes, while a gang 
of loyalists finished a log bridge with a roadbed of 
earth still wet from the marsh out of which it had 
hastily been shoveled. The soldiers cursed the "colo- 
nials" for the mud that slopped onto their spatter- 
dashes, and grumbled (like all soldiers) when called 
upon to aid "civilians" in levering a big butt log to 
the side of the road. Behind the advance corps and 
the laborers, as far away as Castieton, the rest of the 
army filed along the road, suffering the long, incom- 
prehensible delays, then shuffling on to the next 
discouraging halt, a hundred yards, a quarter of a 
mile, further on the road to Fort Edward. 

Well mounted and debonair, Burgoyne and his 
staff made the one bright spot in the long crawling 
column. Young officers took hold of their men again 
when they saw the colorful group beside the road, 
and a spring returned to the step of the soldiers. 

On the second night of the march, Burgoyne made 
his headquarters at burned-out Fort Anne. The gen- 
eral's own wagons had come up; a Brunswick dragoon 
with saber drawn walked "sentry go" at the open 
flaps of the commanding officer's sleeping tent; din- 
ner, served under a great oak tree on china, glass, 


and silver from Burgoyne's own mess chest, had been 
good. The road from Skenesborough was open to the 
brigade guns, and the first o the Germans would be 
coming up in the morning. 

Riedesel had sent a happy but hasty message to his 
baroness, telling her to come with the three little girls 
by boat across Lake George. He then gave his com- 
plete and absorbed attention to the anxious work of 
getting his close-ranked Germans forward, fed, and 
ready to fight. 

The British column was unmolested, as Schuyler's 
Americans fell away before it. Captain Fraser's 
marksmen, and the Canadians and provincial rangers 
scouting forward to the bluffs above Fort Edward 
and the high ground overlooking the portage road to 
Lake George, glimpsed the rear guard patrols of the 
Continentals, following the flow of the Hudson away 
from the flood of Burgoyne's army, cutting a new 
channel southward through the forest. 

The army was at mess on the evening of the 26th, 
when a band of Indians came into the camp, holding 
high on frames two raw scalps. One of these, they 
insisted, was that of a Yankee officer. The arrival of 
the savages interrupted Lieutenant William Digby, 
Grenadier Company, 53rd Foot, who was setting 
down in his journal the events of the day. David 
Jones, officer of Burgoyne's Loyalist troops, and a 
long year's journey from the home and the fiancee he 
had left behind in the village at Fort Edward, saw 
the scalps paraded to the general's tent. Jones sat up 
late that night, his back against a hickory tree, scrap- 


ing down a new ramrod until it was far too slender 
for use. In the woods nearby, the Indians danced out 
their victory song. 

These were the new Indians Menominees, Win- 
nebagoes Chippewas, Sacs and Foxes and wild Sioux 
fine tall men from the westernmost of the big lakes, 
and from the great plains beyond, St. Luc had sum- 
moned them, and their friend Langlade had brought 
them east to the White King's war. Charles de Lan- 
glade was a half-breed trader, who, in 1755, as a 
French cadet, had stood in the mile-long gantlet line 
through which General Braddock had led his two 
British regiments during the march toward Pitts- 
burgh. At the Skenesborough Indian Conference, at 
which the western warriors were welcomed to Bur- 
goyne's army and the rules of selective scalping were 
explained to them, Langlade had stood beside St. 
Luc. Afterward, he had affably translated from Sioux 
to Chippawa to French, as the British officers bought 
trinkets and toys from their new allies things to 
be shown, in days to come, to curious guests in Eng- 
lish drawing-rooms, in quiet London squares. 

It had been easy to think of Burgoyne's Indian 
Conference as an entertaining masque on the lawn 
of Major Skene's stone manor house, where gentle 
savages were but costumed soldiers of the King. The 
next day, after sleeping off the effects of the dancing 
and the liquor that followed the conference, the In- 
dians had gone away. Now, the two dripping scalps 
nailed to the tree at Fort Anne served to remind the 
British that their savage allies were not far away. 


The Iroquois Wolf 

At the end of the French and Indian War, the coun- 
try to the north of Albany enjoyed fifteen years of 
peaceful penetration before the American Revolution 
turned it once again into a warpath of nations. Many 
settlers came to the region, spreading out boldly all 
through the valley of the Upper Hudson. Some found 
a livelihood along the main stream, others sought out 
tributary rivers to turn the millwheels for grinding 
the grist, brought to the mills by other settlers from 
their outlying farms. 

Major Philip Skene, retired from the British army 
after the fall of French Canada, built his great stone 
manor house at a strategic pass through the moun- 
tains a first step toward the realization of a shrewd 
Scot's dream of baronial splendor. Other pioneers 
were of less pretense. Even Philip Schuyler's farm at 
the confluence of Fish Creek and the Hudson River, 
with its mansion of sawed boards was, after all, only 
a farm. 

Towns sprang up, among the first being that at the 
great transhipping place, Fort Edward. It was there 


that the prosperous widow, Mrs. Sarah Fraser Camp- 
bell McNeil, made her home. As a Fraser of the 
Frasers of Lovat, Mrs. NcNeil could look with con- 
descension upon "pretty Lady Kitty" Duer, daughter 
of a Scottish earl and wife of the English Captain 
William Duer, who had served on the staff of Lord 
Clive of India and who was now the respected justice 
of the area. 

During the fifteen years of peace, other towns grew 
up around the mills on which the farm tracks con- 
verged. The millers, the gun-makers, the smiths, the 
tanners these worthies built their houses along new 
streets and in shaded squares where stood the neat 
white village church. At crossroads, innkeepers hung 
out their signs, to cater to the hunger and thirst and 
the fatigue of travelers in the valley, or of those who 
had occasion to go as far away as Manchester or 
Bennington, in Vermont, or even further, through the 
Green Mountains to the towns along the Connecticut 

The outbreak of the revolution in 1775 startled the 
communities of the upper Hudson but did not shat- 
ter them. In general, their loyalty was to the new 
state of New York. 

Tory Dr. James Smythe fled to Canada, whereupon 
Whig Ezekiel Baldwin took over the doctor's red 
house and opened it as a tavern where politicians of 
"the right party" could talk. 

When, in 1776, young David Jones recruited a 
company of militia to help General Gates and Gen- 
eral Arnold defend Fort Ticonderoga against the 


British generals Carleton and Burgoyne, he was 
hailed and wished godspeed by the patriots gathered 
on the lawn outside the tavern to see him march 
away. But they cursed David Jones when the news 
came that he had marched his men around "Old Ti" 
and straight into the British camp, where the whole 
company enlisted for the King. 

Actually, the people in the valley were neutral. 
Their hearts were in their farms, their anxieties were 
for their families, and their yearning was for the war 
to pass them by. Such a community was the town of 
Argyle, in Charlotte County, on the Moses Kill, six 
miles east of the Hudson River. 

Duncan McArthur had his farm close by Lake 
Cossayuna, three or four miles north and east of the 
village settlement. He had worked hard since coming 
to Argyle, and had prospered. In spite of the war, he 
had built a new log house for his wife and growing 
family. The house measured twenty by twenty-four 
feet, and was situated so as to give a pleasant view 
of the lake a much more attractive location than 
that of the old cabin, which was down in the hollow 
by the brook, at the edge of the first hard acre he 
had cleared. Between the cabins was a barn, to which 
was attached a split-rail paddock. 

On the morning of 25 July 1777, Farmer McArthux 
had made arrangements to break the colt that he 
had raised from a foal. Two of his neighbors had 
come to help him, bringing their wives and families 
with them and planning to make a day of it. The 
men and boys gathered at the corral, studying the 


suspicious young animal, while the women and girls 
busied themselves in moving the family's possessions 
from the old cabin to the new one. From the edge of 
the woods at the north end of the high pasture, still 
uncleared of stumps, the McArthur farm appeared 
to be a community of three families. And so it seemed 
to Tommo, called "Le Loup," as he watched from the 

Le Loup was a half-breed French Iroquois, who, 
under the old French Canadian government, had 
held the rank, or appointment, of interpreter. Unlike 
Langlade, under English rule he had gone completely 
Indian, with all the vengeance of an outcast making 
him a savage among savages. He was the war chief, 
or "captain/* of the Christian Iroquois of the St. 
Lawrence, which, together with his fluency in his 
father's tongue, had given him the right to reply for 
his Nation to Burgoyne's oration at the conference 
on the Bouquet River. 

With a war party of nine Iroquois, Le Loup had 
left Skenesborough the day after the western tribes 
had been welcomed by the British. He was bent on 
loot. Up to the morning of 25 July, the party had 
been without success, though or perhaps because 
the Indians had followed the injunctions and re- 
strictions set on them by Burgoyne. They had taken 
one prisoner, a poor specimen, but a man capable of 
being used to carry burdens until a horse could be 
found, after which he might or might not be 
scalped. Near Fort Edward, Le Loup had had a 
brush with an American scouting party, and one of 


his warriors had been killed. That night, at his fireless 
camp, he had sworn revenge upon the first farm to lie 
in their path. Next morning, the direction of the war 
party had been to the east and south toward the new 
settlements of the BattenMlL 

The first farm to come in sight was that of Duncan 
McArthur. From his hiding place, Le Loup counted 
again: three roofs, three families. Too large a settle- 
ment for the nine Iroquois to attack with assurance 
of easy success. In the distance, two miles to the 
northwest, Le Loup saw a faint haze of smoke above 
the trees, indicating another farm, another clearing, 
another family. He dropped back from his lookout, 
picked up his warriors and the prisoner, and headed 
north and west for the Allen place. 

George Kilmore, the miller at South Argyle, had 
promised his son-in-law, John Allen, the loan of two 
of his Negro slaves to help with harvesting the wheat 
crop, and had sent them off at sun-up on Friday, 25 
July. With them had gone Kilmore's youngest daugh- 
ter, with a Negro girl to look after the three Allen 
children while the two sisters visited together. The 
party was expected to return home that same eve- 
ning. When, on Sunday, they had not come back, 
George Kilmore was somewhat annoyed, and dis- 
patched another of his slaves on horseback to fetch 
them home at once. 

From the other side of the village, it was no more 
than half a mile to the Allen farm. Soon the Negro 
returned at a gallop, his yells of "Indians!" rising 
above the beat of pounding hooves, as he tore 


through the Sunday quiet of the shady street. Still 
carrying in his hand the Bible he was reading, the 
miller hurried to the door. He knew the message his 
man was bringing to him: his family and his slaves 
were dead. 

The burial party, setting out at once, quickly re- 
constructed the raid. The men had come in from the 
fields, and all had gathered at the table for the noon 
meal. The two older children had been put to bed in 
the corner of the one-room cabin; the baby had been 
in the high-chair. One of the Negroes had fought 
hard at the front door, in a desperate effort to give 
the others a chance to escape through the door at 
the back of the cabin. The burial party knew this 
because of the special mutilation of the body, by 
which the Indians acknowledged a brave foe. His 
neighbors spared Kilmore other details, telling him 
only that the nine dead had been given decent burial. 

Scouts had gone at once to the McArthur place 
and to the other outlying farms, afraid of what they 
would find. Everywhere, it was a quiet day of well- 
earned rest, which the scouts* arrival soon turned into 
the panic of preparation for immediate flight. By mid- 
afternoon, the roads were full of the refugees, who, 
as they met and talked together, recalled General 
Burgoyne's bombast about "giving stretch*' to his 
Indians. The old men, Scots who remembered '45, 
found the massacre of the Allen family easy to com- 
prehend, and likened Gentleman Johnny to Butcher 
Cumberland and all the red-coated Sassenach ilk. 
By nightfall, no one in all the Batten Kill was neutral. 


On the Sunday that the settlers of Argyle took 
flight and took sides Captain Tommo, Le Loup, 
was back in the camp of Burgoyne's army. He had 
had his revenge at the Allen farm, which he had 
looted after the massacre, and had passed on, his 
blood lust sated for that day. In the woods he met the 
eight-year-old Alexander boy, who stood and gaped 
at the war party as it passed him on its way to Fort 
Edward. The fort was still in American hands, so Le 
Loup went around it to pick up the Fort Anne road, 
down which the road repair gang was working its 
way under the protection of Fraser's corps, which 
had been joined by St. Luc. 

Under imminent threat of engulfment, Fort Ed- 
ward was already a barren, gloomy place. It had 
never been of great value as a fort, dominated as it 
was by higher ground, and it had been allowed to go 
to ruin. Schuyler had abandoned the place on 12 
July, when St. Glair came up to him with the regi- 
ments from Ticonderoga, and had fallen back on the 
Moses Kill, six miles south on the east bank of the 
Hudson. There he concentrated his 2,2,00 Continen- 
tals, who were soon reinforced by Nixon's brigade of 
600 Continentals and two good major generals, Ben- 
jamin Lincoln and Benedict Arnold. Schuyler had left 
his Albany County militia as a rear guard at Fort 
Edward, with orders to receive the refugees, keep 
contact with the enemy, and retreat only at the last 

By Sunday, 2,7 July, those of the militia who had 
not already deserted were restless to be off. The few 


patrols they sent out soon made contact with the 
enemy. When they fired on a British scout, or drew 
fire from them, it was within sound of the fort. From 
the pine bluffs, when the wind was out of the north, 
the Yankees could hear the chunk of axes, clearing 
away the trees that they themselves had felled. All 
of the refugees had moved south, and the village was 

Only the Widow McNeil stayed behind in her 
house a quarter of a mile north of the fort, on the 
road by which her kinsman, General Simon Fraser, 
would soon be coming. During these last days the 
American patrol avoided the McNeil house, in spite 
of the fact the widow's pretty granddaughter lived 
there. The captain who had been sent to evacuate 
the household had been driven away by the enor- 
mously fat Scotswoman, whose voice in anger could 
scald a hog. She could save her greetings and her 
scolding for her high-and-mighty cousin! 

The advance corps was not far away, and was 
drawing nearer. Lieutenant David Jones of the Loyal- 
ist Volunteers, while carrying out his duties with 
Fraser's staff, had prepared the way for his own 
homecoming to Fort Edward. On 11 July, before 
Langlade brought in the western savages, Jones had 
sent a British agent with a letter to Jane McCrea, his 
fiancee. His spirits had been high: he told her that 
he had come safely through the Battle of Hubbard- 
ton, that he was on his way to her, and that, if her 
brother was evacuating to Albany, she was to go to 
Mrs. McNeil's house and wait for him there. Later, 


when Burgoyne's Indians had taken the warpath 
even before he had seen the first scalps brought in 
the young lieutenant had devised a safer plan for the 
reunion with his fiancee. He contrived her "capture" 
by Indians whom he knew to be trustworthy. As an 
escort for the young girl, Jones chose Duluth, a war- 
rior from one of the western nations, which, uncor- 
rupted by close contact with Europeans, were re- 
garded as braver and more humane. 

When she received the letter of 11 July, Jane was 
placed in a dilemma which she met with all the direct 
cunning of an eighteen-year-old girl very much in 
love with a man whom she had not seen in a year, 
who suddenly had called to her with a faith which 
she herself shared. She left the house of her brother, 
with whom she had lived for the past seven years, 
and went to "visit" her friend Polly Hunter, Mrs. Mc- 
Neil's granddaughter. If the girl was determined to 
stay behind, she could not be in safer hands than 
those of the formidable widow, and under the banner 
of the Clan Fraser. 

Jane's subterfuge did not end with her brother. 
When Duluth, bearing Lieutenant Jones's message, 
came to her at the McNeil house on Saturday, 26 
July, she arranged to meet the Indian at noon the 
following day, at an abandoned cabin not far distant. 
Neither Sarah McNeil nor Polly knew of the young 
girl's plan. 

As it was Sunday, no particular notice was taken 
of the fact that Jane was wearing her best dress. 
Without drawing attention to herself, she left the 


McNeil yard, crossed the road, and started to climb 
the hill beyond which Duluth waited at the aban- 
doned cabin. She did not know that she was follow- 
ing close behind a small American scouting party, led 
by Lieutenant Van Vechten. Neither she nor the 
Americans knew that, beneath the big pine trees at 
the crest of the sandy hill, Le Loup, fresh from the 
massacre of the Allen family, lay in ambush. As the 
Yankee column bent over the top of the hill, Le 
Loup and his Indians opened fire. The lieutenant was 
killed at once. His men turned and fled down the hill. 
Jane McCrea heard the musket fire, so close at hand; 
she heard, too, the screeching war whoop of the 
Iroquois as they took up the chase. She ran. At the 
road, she turned out of the ruck of running soldiers 
and made for the safety of the McNeil house. 

The Widow McNeil, too, had heard the firing from 
the ambush, and was in search of Jane. As the girl 
came in, breathless, she was bustled down into the 
cellar, where with Mrs. McNeil and Polly she waited. 

The Indians, outdistanced by the scared Ameri- 
cans, returned to follow the girl whom they had seen 
turn away through the trees, running like a startled 
doe. Carefully circling the McNeil house, the war 
party closed in. With a rush, Le Loup burst in the 
door. The terrified women in the cellar could hear his 
footsteps on the floor above them. In the middle of 
the room he stopped and looked around for the trap- 
door leading to the celkr. Then he took two steps 
and lifted the door wide. The two young girls 
screamed as the redoubtable widow rose to confront 


the sweating, painted savage poised, tomahawk in 
hand, at the top of her cellar stairs. With the excite- 
ment of a kill only a few moments before, even the 
terrible ire of Mrs. McNeil could not quench the 
battle fever in Le Loup, With a shove, he propelled 
the big woman out of the door, the girls after her. 
The eight warriors had gathered in the yard, with 
two horses they had taken from the Allen farm, and 
with the prisoner who had been with the war party 
for so long. 

Emotions, which had cooled as it appeared to the 
frightened ladies that they were to lose only their 
possessions, and would be taken as prisoners to the 
British, flared again at the moment of departure. 
Jane and Polly had been mounted on one of the 
horses, but by no amount of effort could the fat Mrs. 
McNeil be gotten up on to the other one. She would 
have to walk, and in order that her progress might 
not be impeded by her clothing, the Indians ripped 
off her dress, leaving her almost naked in her shift, 
and furiously voluble in her wrath. Quick to anger, 
Le Loup pressed forward, menacing the indignant 
woman and heaping threats and abuse upon her in 
French, Iroquois, and camp English. Common sense 
smothered the Scotswoman's wrath, and she turned, 
a billowing white mainsail of pride, to lead the pro- 
cession to the British camp and to the tent of her 
kinsman, Simon Fraser. 

So the war party began its return. At the top of 
the hill where Lieutenant Van Vechten had died, 
Jane McCrea saw Duluth. He had heard the firing 


and, not finding Jane at the rendezvous, had come 
in search of her. As her horse approached, Duluth, 
who was talking to Le Loup, reached up to grasp the 
bridle. The girl sat quietly as the two Indians talked 
together in mounting anger. She was calmly con- 
fident in the arrangements that her fiance had made 
for her safety. Looking forward over the horse's 
ears, she saw Mrs. McNeil's uncompromising back 
rounding a bend in the trail. Polly did not look back, 
as she, too, disappeared from view. Startled, Jane 
had no time to cry out as she was jerked from her 
horse and Le Loup's tomahawk crashed through the 
side of her head. 

A man named Albert Baker witnessed the whole 
grisly episode from his hiding spot on a pine bluff. 
With his small son he had returned to his abandoned 
house to recover some tools that had been left be- 
hind. Baker saw Jane McCrea die under Le Loup's 
hatchet, and saw the Indian scalp her and strip her 
of her clothes. He saw the Iroquois roll the body 
down the ravine that lay between the Indians and 
the bluff where he was hidden. He saw Jane's body 
come to rest against the trunk of a fallen tree, then 
saw that it lay against another naked body, as white 
as that of the girl. As the Indians hurried off after 
the rest of the war party, one remained behind. As 
Baker and his little son watched, Duluth slipped 
down the steep hill and covered the two bodies de- 
cently with leaves. Albert Baker waited until the* 
Indian finally had disappeared; then he ran to the 
fort, carrying his little boy all of the way. 


The Albany County militia buried Jane McCrea 
and Lieutenant Van Vechten at sun-down, on the 
line of their retreat from Fort Edward. It had been 
a restless week-end in, the valley of the Upper 
Hudson. Squalls of anxiety and indecision had torn 
at the loyalties and conscience of the people there. 
The smoke, which had hung over the Allen farm on 
Friday morning and had betrayed it, had gone. The 
two scalps, brought into Burgoyne's camp on Satur- 
day, had fallen to the ground and had been trampled 
under the feet of the marching regiments. On Sun- 
day, the wind that soughed through the branches 
above the hastily dug graves of the murdered girl 
and the young lieutenant, killed in action, was rising 
to a gale. 


The Face of Gentleman Johnny 

Wrapped in the general's caped cloak, Mrs. McNeil 
let loose a torrent of fury and invective upon her 
kinsman, Simon Fraser. There was no need for the 
evidence: the frightful lock of long, fair hair, which, 
when doubled through the tie of Le Loup's loin- 
cloth, brushed his leggings below the knee. 

Le Loup's was the guilt for the murder of Jane 
McCrea. The Iroquois had struck with the cold, 
quick blow of the rattlesnake. But the blame for the 
murder of Jane McCrea, and of the Allen family, lay 
with Burgoyne, who, by shaking the rattle at the 
serpent's tail, had thought to control its fangs. 

Accepting the responsibility of high command, 
Burgoyne reacted to the crime with title whirlwind 
of a general disobeyed, and with the lightning of a 
gentleman whose honor has been traduced. He 
ordered his Indian commander, St. Luc de la Corne, 
to deliver up Le Loup to a court-martial; and he sent 
an aide to beat the ranks for a soldier with experience 
as a common hangman. 

In angrily opening to the Iroquois chief the door of 



traditional British justice and punishment, Burgoyne 
momentarily disregarded his first duty, set down in 
the hinge phrase of the soldier's creed: ", , . for the 
good of the Service/' That clear-eyed highlander, 
Brigadier Fraser, cautioned the general to walk warily 
among the Indians lest they all go home, leaving the 
advance corps blind in the forest. St. Luc, an arrant 
old fox, threatened the rape and pillage of civilian 
Canada, should the tribes now go home because of 
the hanging of their brother Tommo, called Le Loup. 
The shrug which the Chevalier gave to his powerful 
shoulders disclaimed any desire to restrain his wild 

Jane McCrea's murderer was pardoned, and a 
third Indian Conference was called for 4 August, a 
week hence. It was useless to set an earlier date, as 
the war parties were still out. One by one they re- 
turned, flaunting their scalps and prisoners as they 
approached, sorting the gaudy loot at their campfires 
and dancing their boastful dances in anticipation of 
further rich lands to plunder. When the warriors 
squatted down with their mirrors in their hands to 
renew the war paint, St. Luc and Langdale came 
among them, admonishing them to put away their 
packets of bright colors. The British general wished 
to have another conference with his red allies. Fol- 
lowing behind the two leaders came the interpreters 
who directed the small war parties, and to whom was 
given a share in the loot. These men from the outer 
edges of civilization pictured the plunder of Albany. 
Then, as black eyes flamed in eagerness, adroit words 


shattered the image, mocked the military role, and 
left the impression upon the warriors' simple minds 
that the rape of such rich cities was only for the 
lordly English. Consequently, the Indians came to 
the conference in a sullen mood, and Burgoyne rose 
to speak with the gold braid of his epaulets heavy as 
bullion on his shoulders. 

The conference was saved only by the savages* 
admiration for flowery oratory, and by John Bur- 
goyne's ability to supply that commodity in fulsome 
torrents. Grunts of approval greeted each well- 
phrased point of his persuasive appeal, while from 
the leaders and the chiefs came a compromise agree- 
ment to remain with the army. Nevertheless, the west- 
ern nations set off the next day for their far-off 
homes. Langdale went with them, while St. Luc 
found occasion to return to his Canadian seigniory. 
Of the eastern Indians, many stayed on for a while 
as scavengers, their scouts ringing the army just be- 
yond the provost lines, where helpless English and 
German deserters fell prey to them. 

Burgoyne was left with the rattles of the snake still 
in his hand. The lidless eyes no longer kept his 
watch, the venomous fangs were withdrawn, and 
the viper-head had turned away from the enemy. 
Burgoyne himself was in danger of the swelling 
numbness of the rattlesnake's bite. 

Captain Lieutenant Alexander Fraser had "gone 
native" in the deceptively casual manner of his breed. 
For the duration of the Carleton campaign of 1776, 


he had slipped out of the confining regimental coat 
of the 9th Foot, to assume direction of the Indian 
scouts attached to his uncle Simon Eraser's advance 
corps. His companion in this irregular service was a 
kindred spirit, Lieutenant Thomas Scott of the 24th. 
Together, the two officers had gone into the deep 
woods to find out their secret and to learn their ways 
and make them their own. Their only disappoint- 
ment in the free life of the forest was in the Indians 
themselves. The two British officers found the sav- 
ages, as soldiers, difficult to manage difficult to the 
point of positive detriment to the service. The duty 
of scouting was performed by the Indians in an ex- 
tremely slipshod fashion. Furthermore, both gentle- 
men found the manners of the Indians excessively 
crude. Even among the slum-spawned and sod-grown 
privates of the British line, they had been accus- 
tomed, through leadership, to strike a spark of de- 
cency and the will to learn how to perform a duty, 
however alien. With the Indians this appeared to 
be impossible. 

For the campaign of 1777, Fraser and Scott had 
conceived, recruited, and organized their own "war 
party" of regular British soldiers. Recruits for "Cap- 
tain Fraser's Marksmen ' had to be of good character, 
sober, active, robust, and healthy or so they came 
to be considered. But in no army will the colonel of 
a regiment give up such a man, and the original forty 
recruits were more aptly described as rebels to dis- 
cipline, self-sufficient outcasts, and enemies to the 
"System." An officer of young Fraser s type caught 


the imagination of such men. They followed him into 
his strange element of the wild forest, and emerged 
at the outer extremity of Burgoyne's army like a 
supple hand, capable of slapping, striking, or gentle 

With his Indians gone or loitering with the camp 
followers, General Burgoyne had need of Eraser's 
marksmen and many more like them. Having 
fought forward of the army, matching aimed fire 
with American riflemen outside the walls of Ticon- 
deroga and at the road junction at Hubbardton, the 
corps had dwindled in number. Now, on the Hudson, 
Captain Fraser was offered the pick of the British 
army to find replacements for his marksmen. A Swed- 
ish baron, Lieutenant Salans, joined the corps at this 
time, but his ranger service with his friend of the 
9th Foot was to be brief. Fraser found young Philip 
Skene to be a likely recruit, and he, too, was invited 
to come with the marksmen. Captain Lieutenant 
Thomas Scott gave employment to young Joshua 
Pell, who, though a colonial, was an acceptable candi- 
date for Scott's special section of long-range scouts 
and couriers. 

If Burgoyne had need of eyes to look around the 
next bend of the river to which, at last, he had come; 
if he needed to see where the enemy would stand 
against him he was equally in need of word from 
his friends, Sir William Howe and Barry St. Leger, 
who were converging on the predetermined rendez- 
vous at Albany. Their approach indeed, their im- 
minent arrival must be confirmed. 


The face of a commanding general is a mask be- 
hind which he suppresses overconfidence and hides 
doubts, fears, and disappointments. Lieutenant Gen- 
eral Burgoyne's mask was that of "Gentleman 
Johnny/* It was an easy face to show in the open 
gateway at Ticonderoga, as the victorious army 
flowed by in the bright sunlight. At Skenesborough 
House, couriers in their strange disguises saw the 
face by candlelight in the doorway of the private 
office, with a swirl of talk and laughter from the 
dining-room beyond wreathing it like laurel; then the 
door was closed, shutting away the sound, and only 
the gaiety of the face remained as the big man, 
resplendent in white and scarlet, strode to his desk. 
Now, it was a serious face above the extended hand 
that gave the courier urgent dispatches for General 
Howe. But it was a kindly face, too, that sent the 
messenger over two hundred danger-filled miles to 
his destination. 

As the fatigue party carried the traps of the gen- 
eral and of his companion into the red house on 
the bank of the Hudson, where headquarters had 
been set up not far from Fort Edward, they still saw 
the face of "Gentleman Johnny/* Of the several 
couriers who had been sent to Billy Howe, only two 
had been heard of: both had been caught by the 
rebels and hanged. Word of a third courier came to 
General Burgoyne on 3 August, the day before the 
final Indian conference. He, too, had been captured, 
and the letter that he carried had been found in the 
false bottom of his canteen. His fate was not known, 


but a fourth courier had managed to get through the 
double Yankee lines those that faced Burgoyne 
and those that watched Howe and he had re- 
turned on 3 August with a letter to General Bur- 
goyne from General Sir William Howe. 

Billy Howe had written eighteen days before from 
his comfortable and well-appointed quarters in New 
York City. The somewhat indolent commander in 
chief of all the British forces in the Atlantic Colonies 
had made what was for him an instantaneous re- 
sponse to the announcement of Burgoyne's bloodless 
capture of Fort Ticonderoga. After only two nights 
of sleeping on the news, Howe wrote the commnader 
of his northern army that this was indeed "a great 

The necessity for sending his congratulations 
offered Howe an opportunty to acknowledge the 
receipt of two earlier letters. The first of these was 
written from Plymouth, before Burgoyne set sail for 
Canada; the second was from Quebec, written on 
Burgoyne's arrival there in May. 

Of the grand design, so painstakingly worked out 
with Lord George Germaine in his cabinet at the 
Royal threshold, there was in Howe's letter no glim- 
mer of recognition or response. On the contrary, Gen- 
eral Howe announced that, instead of marching north 
along the Hudson in concert with the northern 
army's descent on Albany, he was going south by sea 
to Chesapeake Bay and Pennsylvania! He had al- 
ready declared this intention when, in early April, he 
had written one of his infrequent letters to Governor 


General Carleton. At that time it had been assumed 
by Carleton, as it was by Burgoyne, that General 
Howe had not yet received Lord Germain's explicit 
orders to proceed to the north, and that, on receiving 
the orders, he would act accordingly. But Howe's 
congratulatory letter, delivered to Burgoyne on 3 
August, gave no indication that any such orders from 
London had ever reached him in New York. 

By moving the main British force from New 
York to Pennsylvania, Billy Howe put yet another 
rebel army between himself and Burgoyne. General 
Schuyler was on the Upper Hudson, where he faced 
the invasion from Canada with only a weak force, 
but where, according to Howe's letter, 2500 rein- 
forcements were expected momentarily. At Peekskill, 
General Israel Putnam, with 4000 soldiers, was in 
control of the highlands. Now, General Washington's 
Continentals were in New Jersey, beyond which lay 

Sitting at his headquarters desk at Fort Edward, 
with his whole army in inexorable and confident mo- 
tion around him, Johnny Burgoyne could see in the 
letter from his commander in chief but two points of 
faintly glimmering hope for some measure of co- 
operation from the south. If Washington turned 
north, then Howe would follow him. This offered a 
wry picture of Burgoyne as a terrier, holding "at 
bay" the phrase was Howe's a thundering herd 
of American generals led by Washington, while Gen- 
eral Howe himself ambled up from Pennsylvania like 
a reluctant, almost somnambulant bear. The other 


possibility of assistance lay with Sir Henry Clinton, 
a fearless, able, and active guardsman-general, whom 
Howe had left in command of the New York City 
garrison with orders to act "as occurrence may di- 
rect/' Perhaps the barking of the terrier upriver 
would bring the Clinton airedales racing north. 

Though General Burgoyne's "Thoughts for Con- 
ducting the War from the Side of Canada/' and the 
orders from the highest authority, which were to 
put those thoughts into effect, seemingly had dis- 
appeared, Burgoyne's duty remained clear and simple 
and forthright as that of any soldier. To be sure, he 
had authored the plan, yet Gentleman Johnny was 
only a lieutenant general, under the direction of 
superior officers. In Canada, General Carleton had 
ordered him to take his army to Albany and there to 
put himself under the command of General Howe. 

With the objective and purpose of his journey set 
so clearly before him, Burgoyne had no need to look 
elsewhere in order to see where his duty lay. Then, 
too, his own ambitions and hopes were bound up in 
the successful completion of the march down the 
wilderness river which now carried his fate to its 
destiny. In only one field was Lieutenant General 
John Burgoyne free to use his own discretion: he was 
in full and absolute command of his own army. 

Be he subaltern or general, the instinctive thoughts 
of an officer are with his command. No matter how 
far afield his inner thoughts may whirl, they soon 
wind back on an invisible string to wrap themselves 
around that strong center pole, his troops. Deep in 


speculation, Burgoyne watched through his office 
window as a soldier carried a basket of laundry to 
the lines for the maid of the lady who rested in the 
chamber above. On the road outside the Red House, 
the squeak of an axle marked the passage of a cart; 
grease for that axle was a matter for the attention of 
Captain Money, the quartermaster. Pen in hand, the 
general leaned forward to make a note in regard to 
grease and wagon maintenance. The question posed 
by the soldier and the laundry could wait. Perhaps it 
did not yet come within the duties of a chaplain. 
Both matters were the responsibility of Burgoyne, as 
a commander of troops. His, too, was the responsi- 
bility for tomorrow's Indian Conference. He sent 
for his adjutant general, Lieutenant Colonel Robert 
Kingston, and when that officer appeared, ready to 
get down to work with his chief, General Howe's 
blandly casual letter was locked away in Burgoyne's 
private box. 

Burgoyne kept his headquarters at Fort Edward 
for a little more than two weeks. They were anxious 
and busy days for the general, as he moved about 
among his troops, showing an ever cheerful counte- 
nance. He kept Howe's letter a secret unto himself. 
Perhaps there would be a second letter, with the 
welcome news that Howe was approaching up the 
Hudson. Meanwhile, he had sent couriers to Clinton 
and expected an answer at any moment. Surely, Sir 
Henry would come up the river far enough to draw 
away some of the Yankee troops that faced the 


British, and Burgoyne could give out such news to 
his officers and his troops with a face of convincing 
cheer. No word had come from Barry St. Leger 
either, who now should be well started on his way to 
the Mohawk River, on the western approaches to 

While the general waited, the army worked. All 
the stores that had been gathered together at Skenes- 
borough had to be carried over the Fort Anne road 
to Fort Edward. It was not until 16 August that the 
last bateau was hauled out of Wood Creek and 
hefted up onto an oxcart, to begin its rough journey 
to the Hudson. Simultaneously, a supply line was 
being built up Lake George, and more and more 
bateaux and gunboats traded back and forth through 
that narrow corridor of blue water between the high 
green mountains. 

Brigadier General Henry Wilson Powell replaced 
Brigadier General James Hamilton in command at 
Ticonderoga. For the defense of that vital trans- 
shipping point, General Powell had one weak British 
regiment, the 53rd, and the Brunswick regiment, 
Prinz Friedrich, under Lieutenant Colonel Christian 
Julius Praetorius. In his aloof, humorless way, Powell 
contrived a defense that scattered the thousand men 
under his command over the four miles of forts and 
roads from Mount Independence to the landing place 
on Lake George. He did not forget to bring down the 
big guns from Mount Defiance, and dispensed both 
justice and punishment in using for the job the rebel 
prisoners from Hubbardton and Fort Anne. 


Troops other than Powell's were guarding the sup- 
ply line. Lieutenant James Hadden saw them on his 
way to reinforce Captain Jones's company of artil- 
lery, in the new single brigade of General Phillips's 
right wing. Hadden's sloop stopped in at Diamond 
Island, thirty miles up Lake George, with stores for 
Captain Aubrey's two companies of the 47th, sta- 
tioned there. The Captain showed the gunner officer 
the sighting of his cannon, poured him a drink, and 
envied him his place in the army's line of battle. 
At Fort George, Hadden saw a busy magazine of 
stores. Barrels, bales, boxes, and crates of every size 
and shape were piled along the beach. Sailors, with 
the help of a work gang of Loyalists, unloaded an- 
other convoy of twenty bateaux while Hadden was 
waiting for a wagon on which he could throw his box 
of clothing, his bed-roll, and his saddle, bridle, and 
pistol holsters. 

Hadden himself would walk the twelve miles of 
portage road. He had no horse with him, and, with 
an artilleryman's eye for transport, he could see that 
the wagons were overloaded, the horses tired and 
underfed, their harness patched with thongs and 
broken collars padded with the coats of the drivers.. 
All along the hot, dusty road, Hadden saw carts 
broken down and abandoned by their drivers, can- 
nibalized by others who came later, until only a few 
boards of the box remained, with perhaps a broken 
axle-tree, its hardware carefully removed. The road 
from Fort Edward to Fort George was a bottleneck, 
holding Burgoyne's army to its beachhead on the 


Upper Hudson until a supply of horses sufficient to 
work it could be found. Already the lack of horses 
had committed the movement of the army to a train 
of boats down the river. Those teams which Colonel 
Skene had led Burgoyne to expect the Loyalists of 
the Upper Hudson Valley would supply were not 
forthcoming. They had been driven off in the face of 
the Indian raids. 

To the east, in the Green Mountains of Vermont, 
in the village of Manchester and beyond, was farm- 
land rich in horses, oxen, and beef cattle. Ever since 
leaving Skenesborough, General Riedesel had wanted 
to take his Germans into that country, but per- 
mission had been refused. Now, as the need for 
bringing supplies from Fort George mounted in 
urgency with each passing day, Burgoyne recon- 
sidered the plan. At last, he gave his limited consent 
for the Brunswick Dragoons alone of the German 
contingent to execute a raid toward Manchester for 
horses and cattle. Mounted, the troopers could also 
be useful as scouts, in the manner of the new- 
fashioned cavalry called hussars." For the entry into 
Albany, two hundred dragoons all ajangle, the hooves 
of their horses striking sparks on the cobbled streets, 
would make a fine parade. 

Though a Tiorse-soldier," Riedesel grumbled at 
this new concept of his raid into Vermont. Neverthe- 
less, he went forward to the assembly point to see his 
troops off, and so it was that on the 14 August the 
devoted baron was at the mouth of the Batten Kill, 
eleven miles below Fort Edward, when his indomi- 


table baroness and the three little girls drove up to 
the door of the Red House at Fort Edward and es- 
tablished themselves there. A suggestion of perfume 
still remained in the upstairs hall and in the big bed- 
room at the front of the house. The baroness sniffed 
and turned away down the hall toward the back, her 
arms filled with fresh clothing for her much travel- 
stained small daughters* 

Only that morning, Burgoyne had moved his head- 
quarters to the Duer House at Fort Miller. His com- 
missary's wife had gone with him. 



The Restless Winds of August 

In mid-August, northern New York State lies quietly 
under the hot summer sun. The frequent thunder- 
showers, rolling up against the warm wind, give little 
relief from the heat. Even the trout in the streams 
seek a shady bank by which to doze, and cannot be 
tempted to the surface even by the fall of the choicest 
fly. Only man, with his will to carry out his plans 
and schemes, forces the season and pits his sweat 
against the sun and rain of summer. 

On 13 August 1777, Lieutenant Colonel Friederich 
Baum planned to march his raiding force of 700 
motley troops from the mouth of the Batten Kill to 
Cambridge, fifteen miles away. Though the sun had 
scarcely risen, and the shadows of the tall elms fell 
far out over the waters of the Hudson, sweat gleamed 
on the black faces of his Negro drummers as they 
beat out the quick roll of the Assembly for the dra- 
goons. One hundred and seventy officers and troopers 
of Prinz Ludwig of Brunswick's Dragoon Regiment 
lined up to the beat of the drum. The big regimental 
sergeant major, whose mustachios bristled up to his 



ears in a challenge to his men, boomed out the num- 
ber to Major Christoph von Maibon, adding a report 
in detail as to the whereabouts of the other men; 
sick, camp guard, Canadian depot, not on parade. 
Maibon looked with distaste at the trousers of striped 
ticking and the infantryman's gaiters worn by the 
troopers. He held to boots for a cavalryman! 

On either side of the dragoons another German 
unit had fallen in. On the right, Major von Earner, 
though junior, commanded one hundred and fifty 
light infantry, his own blue-coated riflemen and von 
Geyso's Jagers in green and red, plus a few grena- 
diers who only the day before had joined the force. 
On the left, a two-gun detachment of Hesse-Hanau 
artillery was hitched and limbered, ready to move 
off. Lieutenant Bock reported the gunners present. 

The rest of Colonel Baum's expeditionary force 
was more difficult to account for, being less regi- 
mental on parade. Captain Eraser's fifty marksmen 
slouched, deliberately seeking rest wherever they 
could find it. The Tories, under Colonels Francis 
Pfister and John Peters, could hardly be called a mili- 
tary unit. They were going east with Baum to recruit 
other Loyalists into their skeleton "regiments." 

Major Philip Skene, still confident of the basic 
loyalty of the local people, was also with the ex- 
pedition. Now, in the early morning, he stood with 
the headquarters group around the chunky Colonel 
Baum. Skene talked easily with the immaculate 
Captain de la Naudiere, whose suave grace empha- 
sized his catlike movement, as he excused himself to 


slip away to join his Canadians. From talking with 
his habitants, still gathered about their campfire, 
de la Naudiere would learn the true temper of the 
Indians who camped nearby. 

As Baum gave the order to move out, General Bur- 
goyne rode up to take the salute. He was gone again 
before the long, straggling queue of women, musi- 
cians, and officers* servants took to the Cambridge 
road behind the German van. The whole army was on 
the move; and Burgoyne would be needed every- 
where. With Baum's force off to the east, Fraser's 
corps was to cross to the west bank of the Hudson, its 
place at the left bank bridgehead being taken by 
Breymann's reserve corps of German shock troops. 
Phillips was bringing forward the British regiments 
from Fort Edward to Fort Miller, and when the main 
German contingent once was in motion, Riedesel was 
to return to the Duer's House headquarters (on 14 
August) to give General Burgoyne the latest reports 
on the Lake George supply line. 

General Riedesel did not yet know that the desti- 
nation of his dragoons had been changed. He had 
written the orders for the expedition into Vermont, 
setting down in detail the purpose of the raid and 
the route that Baum was to follow. The objects of 
the "secret expedition" were five: "To try the affec- 
tion of the country; to disconcert the councils of the 
enemy; to mount the Riedesers Dragoons; to com- 
pleat Peter's corps; and to obtain large supplies of 
cattle, horses, and carriages." The route was along 
three sides of a rectangle, of which the fourth side 


would be marched by the main army, down the 
Hudson River. Baum's first objective was Manchester, 
where Seth Warner's Continentals lurked. General 
Burgoyne considered it highly probable that "Mr. 
Warner" would retreat before Baum's troops. At the 
staff meeting Riedesel had objected to this premise 
when the plan was outlined, but had fallen silent be- 
fore the scornful conviction with which Burgoyne 
and Phillips, the other major general of the expedi- 
tion, had expressed their opinion of the "Green Moun- 
tain Boys," as Warner's regiment was called. For a 
moment, the baron had expected Simon Eraser to 
speak up in strong support of his doubts. But the 
commander of the British advance corps, who, like 
Riedesel, had faced the Continentals at Hubbard- 
ton, remained silent, his eyes turned toward the win- 
dow. The baron followed the Scotsman's gaze. In 
the home pasture beyond a snake-rail fence, a single 
shade tree gave shelter from the sun to two of Gen- 
tleman Johnny's well-groomed chargers. The tree 
was a lofty elm, its green branches arching out like 
a fountain in the palace gardens at Potsdam, its 
trunk of a diameter to afford ample protection to any 
Yankee rifleman. 

From Manchester, Baum was to march his force 
to Rochester, on the Connecticut River, thence south 
to Brattleboro and back to the main army, which 
would be somewhere on the great road that followed 
the west bank of the Hudson to Albany. 

It was not until Colonel Baum was moving his 
troops up to the start line at the mouth of the Batten 


Kill that his objective was changed to the town of 
Benrrington. A messenger from the Tory scout, Cap- 
tain Sherwood, had come with the welcome news 
that a big rebel magazine, containing all the sup- 
plies that Burgoyne so urgently needed, lay in that 
Vermont town, guarded only by some four hundred 
local militia. 

To the men in the close-ranged ranks of the Ger- 
man regulars, the new direction of their march meant 
fewer miles of hot and dusty track. Bennington, as 
they quickly found out, was only twenty-eight miles 
away, and by the time the evening halt was called 
and they had dressed ranks before dismissal, fifteen 
of those miles had passed under their weary feet. 
During the day they had heard musket fire, and on 
approaching Cambridge the dragoons had halted in 
ranks, while the Jdgers and light infantry scouted the 
little settlement. Primarily, the deployment had been 
an exercise for von Earner's men, intended to impress 
the villagers. They had prepared the way for the 
parade of the dragoons down the single street of the 
town, their arms swinging in unison, every eye look- 
ing straight ahead, their rich young voices dutifully 
singing the melancholy, hymn-like air to which they 
habitually marched. A barefooted, thin-shouldered 
woman ran out of a log house to snatch back her 
child, who had slipped away to march with the big 
men in blue and yellow. Otherwise the town ap- 
peared to be empty. 

After supper, Pastor Melsheimer of the dragoons 
had knocked at the door of the parsonage behind 


the clapboard church. But the woman who came to 
the door could not understand his broken English, 
nor had she recognized the Cloth. The pastor had 
returned to the headquarters fire, where, through an 
interpreter, Colonel Baum was interrogating the few 
Yankee men that Captain Fraser and the Indians had 
captured during the course of the day. 

From the prisoners, Baum learned that, instead of 
four hundred rebels guarding the horses and stores 
at Bennington, there were eighteen hundred! In a 
message sent back to Burgoyne that night, Baum 
passed on this new and startling bit of intelligence, 
and advised the general that he was proceeding 

Five miles to the south of Cambridge, the Owl 
Kill meets the Hoosic River at a right angle, where 
the direction of the river's flow changes from north 
to west. Above this confluence yet another river, the 
Walloomsac, comes from Bennington and the east to 
form a ragged but well-defined cross of waterways 
where it meets the Hoosic. Baum's road from Cam- 
bridge to Bennington crossed to the west bank of 
the Owl Kill to meet the Albany road, where, al- 
most immediately, it passed over another bridge at a 
mill named, appropriately, St. Croix. From that point, 
the road followed the north bank of the Walloomsac 
to Bennington, except for one short cut across a bend. 
It was at St. Croix, its pronunciation corrupted by 
the local twang to "Sancoik," that Baum first encoun- 
tered the Americans. 

Two hundred Yankees crowded into the mill and 


spread themselves through the surrounding bushes. 
They heard the Germans approaching from as far 
away as the first bridge, and watched agape as the 
head of the first column Jagers in coats of green, 
with red facings like those of Seth Warner's Con- 
tinentals passed the Albany road and turned to- 
ward the bridge over the milirace. The Americans 
had little plan and less leadership, so when someone 
yelled "They're comin' " and fired his musket, every- 
one joined in with a ragged, poorly aimed volley. 
The Germans came steadily on, the green-coated 
men fanning out to right and left, occasionally drop- 
ping to one knee to fire at the mill with their short 
brown rifles, steadied by the red slings wrapped 
around their arms. The Americans could see no effect 
from their own fire. Instead, blue-coated soldiers in 
big, black cocked hats trotted, in a compact mass, 
up the road toward the bridge. Each man held in his 
right hand a gleaming, short, curved sword. A Yan- 
kee smashed one of the windows on the safe side of 
the mill, away from the charging light infantry, and 
clambered out through the broken frame. Others fol- 
lowed, piling out of the doors and windows, all of 
them bound for the safety of the Bennington road 
and the offer of distance that it promised. At first, the 
Americans ran; then, as the exhaustion of heat out- 
balanced their dread of the men in blue and black, 
they dropped into a fast walk which they kept up for 
the three miles to the bridge over Little White Creek. 
There, the last of the retreating Americans saw 
Eleazer Edgerton, the carpenter of Bennington, hat- 


less as usual and now coatless as well, his sleeves 
rolled above his elbows, beckoning them to hurry. 
With him were two other Bennington men, busily 
prizing the planks of the bridge. The last man 
gathered himself to leap over the gap that already 
had been made. He sprang forward, stumbled, and 
fell; then he picked himself up and ran on. Behind 
him, Eleazer and his two friends worked feverishly 
to destroy the bridge. Just as the flames caught the 
pile of shivered dry planking, the first shots came 
from the pursuing German light infantry. His task 
completed, Edgerton ducked off into the brush. He 
stopped once to shoot back, just to keep the "Hes- 
sians" away from his bonfire until it caught a good 

The hour thus bought by the carpenter of Ben- 
nington saved the Sancoik detachment, bone-tired 
with the physical weariness that rides the back of 
panic. The hour that it required for Baum to cross 
Little White Creek with his guns and wagons dulled 
the youthful eagerness of von Earner's men. With 
their keen swords sheathed, the German light troops 
continued to lead the way up the narrow valley 
floor of the Walloomsac. Now, the pace of the Ger- 
mans had slackened to the workhorse tread of the 
dismounted cavalry, as doubt and caution dragged at 
the worn heels of Dragoon Lieutenant Colonel Baum. 
After the habit of the alert officer, he was studying 
the hills that rose steeply on his left, picking out a 
defensive position, when a party of Tory scouts came 


in with the news that the rebel army had come out 
from Bennington and awaited him across the second 
Walloomsac bridge that lay beyond. On receiving this 
intelligence, Baum's doubts resolved themselves into 
decision, his caution solidified into defense, and the 
selection of a suitable position moved over from the 
side of speculation to that of instant choice. With his 
enemy scarcely a mile away, Baum sent a second 
message to Burgoyne, this time asking for reinforce- 

Across the bend of the Walloomsac, Baum's enemy, 
too, waited for reinforcements. As the hot, still after- 
noon wore on and help did not appear, the American 
army, too weak to attack, retired in order to Benning- 
ton. Tomorrow they would return with their general 
to drive the Germans from their hills. 

Their general was the almost legendary John Stark. 
His frame was tall and spare and supple, though 
where his principles were concerned, his back was 
hickory-stiff. His face was finely boned, and when 
angered or crossed, his jaw firmed and his eyes 
sparkled like a hatchet striking on the rock of his 
native New Hampshire. John Stark resembled a 
tomahawk, and carried himself as such during all the 
years of the American Revolution. 

By 1775, when he was forty-seven years old, Stark's 
military reputation in his native colony was second 
only to that of Robert Rogers, whose lieutenant he 
had been during the glorious years of fabulous deeds 
with Rogers* Rangers. Whereas Rogers had gone 


away from New Hampshire at the end of the French 
and Indian War, Stark had returned to espouse the 
cause of his expanding New Hampshire, and to be- 
come a part of its heroic legend. 

Upon hearing of the battles of Lexington and 
Concord, John Stark did what might have been ex- 
pected of such a man. And he did it so suddenly 
that when his New Hampshire Regiment, recruited 
as he rode, was added to the gathering American 
army near Boston, Stark had to send home to Eliza- 
beth, his wife, for a change of clothing. 

Colonel Stark's New Hampshire Regiment fought 
with gallantry on the American left at Breed's Hill, 
manned the siege lines around Boston, and followed 
George Washington when he led the Continental 
Army to New York. Colonel Stark took his regiment 
north into Canada during the spring of 1776, and 
fretted through the long summer of apprehension 
that followed that disastrous campaign, while Gates 
prepared the defenses at Ticonderoga, and Benedict 
Arnold built his fleet to hold Lake Champlain against 
Guy Carleton and John Burgoyne. 

As a New Englander from the back lots of New 
Hampshire, Stark found service difficult on the north- 
ern frontier. He was unable to assert himself against 
the smooth fagade of General Philip Schuyler's aris- 
tocratic New York confidence. Nor would General 
Gates, whose military career had been built up of 
well-mortised British army brick, heed the old ranger 
Stark when the latter expounded upon his military 
credo of attack by courageous men confident in their 


firearms. Stark fared better under Washington, who 
gave the New Hampshire colonel command of the 
right wing of the advance guard at the winter-night 
crossing of the Delaware River, and at the dawn at- 
tack up the streets of Trenton, where Howe's German 
troops slept off the effects of their Christmas cele- 

When the promotion list came out after the winter 
campaign of 1776-77, the name of John Stark was 
not included. It was the second time the Continental 
Congress had passed him over for a general's star. 
In anger and protest, Stark resigned his commission 
in the Continental Army and went home to New 
Hampshire. He was not the first officer to feel such 
a slight to his personal honor and to that of his native 
state at the hands of a muddling Congress of conniv- 
ing delegates from thirteen jealously separate gov- 

Stark did not remain long in retirement. The corn 
crop of 1777 was only musket high when New 
Hampshire called him back to arms. Within a week 
he had mustered twenty-five companies of rugged 
New Hampshire militiamen. Five days more, and 
Stark had his brigade on the banks of the Connecticut 
River. On 7 August, his men were ready for action, 
and Brigadier General Stark took up a position on 
Burgoyne's flank at Manchester, in Vermont. Beside 
him stood Colonel Seth Warner, who, since Hubbard- 
ton, had been left by General Schuyler to watch and 
threaten Burgoyne, and if he moved toward New 
England, to delay him. 


Philip Schuyler knew that Stark had come again 
to the war. Schuyler needed the New Hampshire 
Brigade on the Hudson, and sent General Benjamin 
Lincoln to fetch it. Lincoln, extremely able (and ex- 
ceedingly fat!) 3 was one of the two major generals 
Washington had sent north to help out against the 
invasion from Canada. Each commanded a wing of 
Schuyler's army. Benedict Arnold had gone west on 
a flying expedition to relieve Fort Stanwix, under 
siege by Barry St. Leger. In command of the Ameri- 
can right, Benjamin Lincoln had gone into western 
New England to bring in the militia there, for a con- 
centration of force above Albany. On Burgoyne's 
move to Fort Edward, Schuyler now knew that city 
to be the British objective. 

Perhaps it was unfortunate that Lincoln was one 
of the officers promoted over the head of John Stark, 
but the circumstances were mitigated to some extent 
by the fact that Lincoln was a Massachusetts gen- 
eral, and therefore a New Englander. When the two 
men met in Manchester on 7 August, Stark was 
adamant in his refusal to obey Lincoln's order to 
rally his brigade to Schuyler. Stark produced his 
orders from the General Court of New Hampshire in 
justification of his stand. Benjamin Lincoln read care- 
fully the extraordinary orders under which Brigadier 
General John Stark was given discriminatory powers 
to act either with, or separately from, the Continental 
Army. It was obvious to the Massachusetts general 
that his fellow New Englander chose to act in- 
dependently of the New Yorker, General Schuyler. 


And in the face of the imminent British onslaught, 
there was nothing that Lincoln could do about it. 
Prevailed upon by persuasive Massachusetts reason- 
ing, Stark remained in Vermont, assuming the role of 
a valued ally of standing equal to that of the Con- 
tinental Army. Under sympathetic treatment, John 
Stark made one concession: he would march his 
brigade to Bennington, to await developments (both 
political and military) while guarding the stores ac- 
cumulating at that place. Stark had a further reason 
for leaving Manchester and going on to Benning- 
ton, twenty miles away. One of his spies had told 
him that Burgoyne, even then, was bound for New 
England and was proceeding by way of Bennington. 
Upon receiving this information, Stark was obviously 
bound by the General Court to bar the road until 
his ally, the aristocratic Schuyler, could come from 
Albany with his Continentals. On 8 August, when 
the New Hampshire men were marching to Benning- 
ton, Burgoyne's own informer had not yet arrived 
with the news of the inadequately guarded stores at 
that town. 

It was only by rumor and hearsay and misinforma- 
tion that Stark and Baum came face to face in the 
same narrow valley of the Walloomsac on the after- 
noon of 14 August 1777. 


The Hill Overlooking the Walloomsac 

For the second time that afternoon, Colonel Friede- 
rich Baum found himself climbing the hill over- 
looking the bend and bridges of the Walloomsac 
River. He was on the steep southeast face of the 
hill, which was dead ground to his main defensive 
position on the summit. As he plodded upward Baum 
was hot and tired and feeling his long years of 
service. Once more he stopped to rest, standing as 
though the calves of his slim horseman's legs could 
not be trusted to lever up his barrel-like body should 
he sit down. He heard behind him the labored 
breathing of one of his aides, the young Irishman, 
on loan from Riedesel's staff. 

Working around the steeply tilted land and out of 
the thick scrub growth, the command party came 
upon the fire positions of the fifty Jagers, stationed 
so as to command both the dead ground and the 
narrow gully of a brook, now almost dry. While the 
spruce young captain pointed out his fire positions, 
the old colonel sat drinking from a canteen as he 
looked over the battlefield he had chosen. 



Below, and three hundred yards distant, was the 
first bridge over the Walloomsac; the Yankees had 
not destroyed it when they had retreated, a few 
hours earlier. Baum had just come from the position 
there, held by fifty of his own light troops, thirty of 
Captain Fraser's rangers, and one of Lieutenant 
Bock's 3-pounders, guarding the bridge and set to 
rake the road to Bennington. If the rebels attacked, 
it was from Bennington that he expected them to 
come. On an elevation above the road, just beyond 
the bridge, one hundred and fifty Tories were at 
work, throwing up field fortifications, and at his in- 
spection Baum saw them make the dirt fly. The 
colonel had discovered a sturdy log cabin on the far 
side of the river between the Tory redoubt and the 
bridge, and into this he had ordered the women who 
trailed the expedition. From where he now sat among 
the Jcigers, he could see the roof of the cabin, neatly 
and safely tucked away in a fold of the ground. 

Three-quarters of a mile away, on the road up 
which he had marched from Sancoik, Colonel Baum 
had left another post. This was manned by some of 
the Tories who had come from the Hudson, together 
with ninety others of like mind who had joined the 
expedition since it set out the previous day. The 
"uniform" of the latter consisted of white paper, 
pinned to their hats! The rear position was stiffened 
by fifty grenadiers under Captain von Schiek, if neces- 
sary, they could lead a bayonet charge through the 
Yankee rabble to greet the reinforcements, expected 
to arrive the next day ( 15 August) by a forced march. 


On the crest of the hill, to which Colonel Baum 
finally climbed from the canted perch of the Jagers, 
was the hard core of his defense. It was sunset when 
he regained his tent. Clouds were gathering, and for 
a moment a hot breeze stirred the leaves as it passed 
by. Every native officer he had talked with on his 
rounds had smelled rain in the air. If this came, it 
would be good. If the rebels attacked, the dampness 
would make their muskets useless, and there would 
be time for the reinforcements to arrive for the 
charge with sabers and bayonets on which Colonel 
Baum depended to win through to Bennington. 

The hilltop position of the Brunswick Dragoons 
was cleared of trees, yet trees dominated it. From the 
steep slopes, the trees thrust up their leafy branches 
like curious children peering onto a table-top. To the 
north and northwest, the virgin timber of the Ameri- 
can forest stopped the inroads of the clearing at a low 
ridge, capped by a knoll. To the northeast, at a dis- 
tance of approximately a mile, a tree-covered moun- 
tain edged the horizon. Baum had placed his earth- 
and-log barricade to face the gap between the two 
features, and had caused wings to be thrown up fac- 
ing east and west. The woods in front of the redoubt 
were patrolled by Indians, and by de la Naudiere's 
Canadians. The second cannon was mounted in an 
embrasure to shoot down the hill onto the Benning- 
ton road, in support of the other gun at the first 
bridge. Other embrasures had been cut in the field 
works, to which the little 3-pounder could be moved 
quickly by drag-ropes. In the very center of the en- 


closure, the ammunition tumbril of the Hesse-Hanau 
Artillery stood ready with its supply o rolled powder 
charges. A gunner was stacking canisters of grape- 
shot between the wheels. On his hilltop, with his 
dragoons around him, Colonel Baum felt secure. 

Sensitive to everything having to do with his men, 
the Colonel awoke in his tent when the first drops 
of rain fell. All around him he could hear the sounds 
of restless movement in the camp as the troopers and 
gunners sought shelter, cursing their lot as they re- 
settled themselves in the wet darkness of the night. 
Colonel Baum went back to sleep; it had taken years 
of just such bivouacs to earn a colonel's comforts. 

When his servant wakened him with a breakfast 
somehow contrived, the rain was still falling. By 
nine o'clock, it was the general opinion in the Ger- 
man camp that the drizzle would continue through- 
out the day. For a while, the dragoons honed their 
big sabers. Then they resigned themselves to mak- 
ing the best of it. Baum made the rounds of his posi- 
tions. Everyone and everything was wet. Only the 
women in their log cabin were really dry, but he did 
not tarry there to lay himself open to the inter- 
minable questions and wrangles and complaints of 
the soldiers* wives. 

In his headquarters on the western edge of Ben- 
nington, General Stark was little better off. His men 
were as wet as the Germans were, and during the 
day and into the night of 15 August, he was harassed 
by ardent militia captains, eager to "smite the hire- 
ling invaders" and to "bring vengeance on the mur- 


derers of sweet Jennie McCrea." No one seemed to 
consider the fact that damp powder nullified the ad- 
vantage of fire power, on which Stark had counted, 
although the parson who commanded the Berkshire 
County militia quoted a conglomeration of biblical 
passages sufficient to damp the fires of hell. The rain, 
however, was giving Stark a day of grace in which 
to concentrate his force. Seth Warner was with "him 
in his headquarters, and at the prospect of battle 
Warner had sent to Manchester for his regiment of 
Continentals. The troops were now somewhere along 
the road, plodding slowly through the mud as the 
gray day wore to a close. 

While Stark's reinforcements Vermont Conti- 
nentals, with two hundred Green Mountain Rangers 
were coming the twenty-two miles from Man- 
chester, the reinforcements that Colonel Baum had 
sent for had traveled only eight of the twenty-five 
miles that would bring them up to the dragoons. 
They had made a good start from the mouth of the 
Batten Kill. Baum's messenger had arrived in the 
early morning, and by nine o'clock, only an hour after 
receiving Burgoyne's orders, Colonel Breymann had 
his men on the road. All of Heinrich Christoph Brey- 
mann's troops were steady, trained veterans, picked 
from among the five infantry regiments of RiedeseFs 
Brunswick and Hesse-Hanau division. Although they 
were called grenadiers, and wore the high, metal- 
fronted mitre traditionally associated with that name, 
their forte was the attack with the bayonet, which re- 
quired close ranks and rigid discipline if it were to be 


pushed home. Colonel Breymann was a disciplinar- 

Again and again, Breymann halted the column to 
dress ranks, broken by the slippery road as it climbed 
up the hill out of the valley of the Hudson. Patiently, 
the grenadiers shuffled back and forth as the sergeant 
moved along the ranks, lining up with out-thrust 
chests. When all was ready, the order to march was 
given, and in measured succession, the blocks of 
companies stepped out, to squish, slide, and stumble 
over the muddy track until the next halt. Up front, 
Colonel Breymann could twist around in his saddle 
and glare at the long line of five hundred gilt or silver 
mitre-caps, bobbing and lurching every which way 
in the driving rain; he was not pleased. Behind the 
struggling grenadiers, Lieutenant Spangenberg, heed- 
less of dressing, tried desperately with his gunners 
to keep up with the slow pace of the infantry. The 
road was a morass of slippery wet mud that made the 
two 6-pounders of his battery slew behind their limb- 
ers, while the horses, their necks bent to their collars, 
stumbled to their knees on the upgrades, or were in 
danger of a broken leg as the weight of the load 
shoved the breechings against their croups on a 
downgrade. Behind the artillery, the ammunition 
wagons of the column, overloaded for their construc- 
tion and for the strength of their animals, fared even 
worse than the guns. Breymann was still seven miles 
short of Cambridge when he called a halt for the 
night. In eight hours of forced march he had covered 
only eight miles. 


At first light on 16 August, Breymann had his men 
up on their feet, the sergeants shouting them into 
line, the officers thwacking about with their gold- 
headed canes. Beyond Cambridge the road was bet- 

On his hilltop overlooking the deserted valley of 
the Walloomsac, Colonel Baum waited, guessing at 
the cause of the delay. He sent Colonel Skene back 
with all his horses, as extra teams for Breymann's 
wagons. Still he waited, watching and listening both 
up and down the Bennington road. 

General Stark went to the door of his headquarters 
and walked out into the yard. It was still raining, but 
it was a light, misty rain. The cloud mass was lifting 
above the long summit ridges of the distant moun- 
tains, which appeared clear and fresh in the gray 
light. Here and there on the green slopes, thin wisps 
of blue-white mist hurried upward, as if in fear of 
being left behind by the rising cover of sky. To a 
man of the New England hills, such flecks of cloud 
were a sure sign of clearing weather. Stark shouted 
for his drummer, and had the boy beat the Officers* 

They came, the lean and the portly, the young and 
sturdy with the big red wrists of plowmen, the 
middle-aged, pale from the crossroads store and the 
Portsmouth houses of business; men as old as the 
general himself, in loose uniform coats of an earlier 
war. All were most soldierly and earnest as they 
searched in their minds or memory for the correct 
military terms in which to report their respective 
commands ready. As the room settled into silence, 


John Stark outlined his plan of attack on Burgoyne's 
scattered forces. His troops would advance two em- 
bracing arms, seemingly a friendly army made up of 
Tories going to join Burgoyne, until at the last pos- 
sible moment, or upon discovery, the attack would be 
made. The arms would then embrace the enemy in 
the hug of the black bear. Command of the two 
arms was given, respectively, to Colonel Nichols 
and Colonel Herrick. With the main force, Stark 
himself would be like the jaws of the bear, snapping 
up the Tories across the Walloomsac and the guard 
at the first bridge, then bringing the two arms to- 
gether on the dragoons' hill and at the Germans' rear 
position. To Colonel Stickney went the task of rush- 
ing the first bridge, while Colonel Hubbard, to whom 
was attached the Berkshire County militia under its 
fighting parson, was to storm the Tory redoubt on 
the American side of the stream. 

It was crowded in the room as Stark gave his 
orders, and moisture rose out of the damp homespun 
and broadcloth of the officers* coats. As the orders 
droned on, first one man, then another, shed his thick 
coat; waistcoats and stocks soon followed, until all 
the listeners stood in their shirtsleeves. Gone was the 
thin veneer of militarism, as each New England 
neighbor studied and questioned his role in the com- 
ing attack. When the orders group broke up and the 
sweating, shirt-sleeved officers streamed out into the 
yard, the clouds were breaking and the heavy damp 
heat of the room seemed to have followed them 
into the summer noon. 

Nichols and Herrick were the first away, having the 


longest distance to travel around the hills and moun- 
tains of the army's flanks. Then, for General Stark, 
began the anxious moments of unfolding his army. 
Until the flanking forces opened fire he could not 
move his main body forward. The sun came out, and 
he fretted. His horse danced under the twitching of 
his hand at the reins. At last, calling to Colonel 
Warner, whose Continentals were still waiting be- 
yond Bennington town, Stark spurred westward down 
the road for a closer look at the bridge. The gun 
sergeant of the Hesse-Hanau 3-pounder saw the two 
officers coming on at a gallop, and gave an order 
while blowing up the slow match of his linstock. He 
waited for the riders to stop, then he aimed his little 
gun. Stark saw the puff of smoke. He did not heed 
where the shot fell, but thought better of his fool- 
hardy boldness and, with Warner, galloped back to 
where his command was readying for battle. 

Baum heard the opening gun of the battle as a dull 
thump, far away in the blanket of humidity. It sent 
him striding to the lookout from which he could see 
to the American camp, far up the valley beyond the 
second bridge. From the same spot, he had seen 
Nichols's men, and those of Herrick, leave camp. As 
one group went north and another south, he judged 
that the militia was going home. Baum could not 
identify the two horsemen who dashed up to his 
cannon, then dashed away again. Their image would 
not hold in the long, wood-encased tube of his spy- 
glass as he rested it across the shoulder of his personal 
orderly. Though heat waves danced across the big 


circle of the lens, Baum could see that one of the 
"Yankee" officers was a farmer: he rode all aflap. The 
other crouched over his horse's neck, like an Italian 
jockey, not sitting erect, like a dragoon! Shortly after 
the single cannon-shot, the colonel was called to ob- 
serve to his rear, where small groups of local farmers 
appeared to be coming in to join the Tory regiments, 
as Major Skene had so confidently anticipated. Pres- 
ently, white-shirted men were seen coming down off 
the ridge to the northwest of the dragoons* log barri- 
cade. As they drew nearer, Baum could see that 
among them there were a few Indians, his own scouts 
bringing them in to volunteer. They were, in fact, 
Stockbridge Indians from Western Massachusetts, 
allies of the Americans and friends of John Stark 
since the days when they had comprised the Indian 
Company of Robert Rogers's Rangers. This was 
Nichols's right arm of Stark's "pincer," while the 
"f armers" in the valley to Baum's rear were Herrick's 
men, who had already crossed the Walloomsac and 
were now closing in around the Germans* western- 
most post, on the road to Sancoik and Cambridge. 

Nichols's men opened the fire. Baum's shocked sur- 
prise was but momentary, as instinct and training 
came vaulting over the wall of error. An order from 
the colonel had the dragoons back under cover of the 
log barricade; a second order began their return fire 
by troop volley. It was impossible for the German 
commander to estimate the effect of his return fire, as 
all the Yankees seemed to fall down behind rocks or 
trees or into folds in the uneven ground. Fire still 


came from the foot of the ridge, and, as the first ex- 
citement wore off, Baum noticed that this fire was 
spreading to his right in an arc that covered the 
whole front of his log barricade. As he continued to 
scrutinize the uneven ground before him, his eyes 
began to pick out individual rebels, betrayed by a 
puff of smoke as they fired, or by a white arm ill- 
concealed behind a boulder. His officers, too, were 
seeing the Yankees, and were now directing their 
volleys at the small individual targets. More and 
more single figures would rise up, run for a short 
distance, then dive into a new and better position. 
The fire onto the German position continued strong. 
Bullets thudded into the protecting logs, ricochets 
whined overhead; occasionally, a dragoon would be 
hit, falling back with a moan or a curse. As the fire- 
fight settled down to a steady exchange, Baum re- 
alized that the action had become general: all of his 
positions were now engaged. To the east, the colonel 
could see the main force of the Americans marching 
down the road from Bennington, led by the two 
officers he had noticed earlier. They were following 
closely behind their skirmishers, already at the bridge 
and at the Tory earthworks across the stream. 

The fight was hottest at this last position, where it 
was also most bitter, for it was between neighbors. 
There Colonel Hubbard, with the Vermont and Mas- 
sachusetts men, led Stark's attack on the rail and earth 
entrenchments. Burgoyne's local Tories met the on- 
slaught of the people who had driven them from their 
farms and homes. Many of them knew the names of 
the men they were shooting at, and knew their wives 


and children. Tories from Pittsfield took careful aim 
at their former parson, who even in battle re- 
viled them for their convictions and exhorted them to 
see the error of their ways. Little quarter was given 
when Stark's militiamen rushed over and around the 
Tory redoubt, and American faced American in the 
fury of hate and resentment. Both victory and hope- 
lessness bring a quick cooling to the heat of battle, 
when contempt and despair take over from the elation 
of the victor and the fright of the vanquished. A 
guard led away the Tory prisoners, who carried with 
them their own wounded. 

At the first bridge over the Walloomsac, Baum's 
light troops, British and Germans, fared little better 
than did the Tories in the redoubt. Although their 
aimed fire held off the skirmishers, the return fire and 
the threat of complete encirclement drove them back. 
Some retired down the road, where they ran into the 
confusion of the rear post, now completely sur- 
rounded by Herrick's men; others climbed the hill, 
pushing through the Jdgers in the dead ground to the 
safety of Baum's position on the summit Alexander 
Fraser found himself among the latter, assisting the 
wounded and weeping gun sergeant up the steep 
slope. Under accurate rifle-fire, the Hesse-Hanau 
3-pounder had been useless, all the gunners dead or 
wounded; yet Fraser had to lead the sergeant away 
from the piece, which is an artilleryman's pride and 
honor and love. Fraser, too, left much behind at the 
bridge he could no longer hold: he left his marksmen 
dead, and among them his friend, Baron Salans. 

Stark now moved his main force to the bridge. A 


German woman lay dead on the abutment. She had 
run from the log house, either to avoid the leering 
farm boys who had captured it after the Tory redoubt 
fell, or she had been running to join her man. The 
general thought of Elizabeth Stark, his "Molly/' safe 
at home in Londonderry, New Hampshire. He crossed 
the Walloomsac, dismounted, and as his soldiers 
crossed the river he directed them into position to 
assault up the hill. 

In the log barricade, Baum was holding back 
Nichols's men to the north, but was forced to spread 
his soldiers more and more thinly as Herrick's men 
drifted into the fire-fight, having by-passed and taken 
the grenadiers* post on the Cambridge road. Still no 
reinforcements appeared. He had been engaged for 
two hours, and his ammunition was giving out. At 
the ammunition tumbril, Baum had set the officers* 
servants and the lightly wounded to rolling cartridges 
for the dragoons at the breastworks. The light troops, 
who had come up from the bridge, helped to fill out 
his lines, thinned by the accurate fire of the Yankees, 
and he saw green-coated Jagers from the slope firing 
shoulder-to-shoulder with his big, blue-uniformed 
troopers. All his positions had fallen except for the 
hill-top barricade, but he felt secure if only his am- 
munition held out until reinforcements arrived. To 
the north, Baum saw a white-shirted Yankee run 
toward the barricade, then drop from sight. From 
the corner of his eye he saw another rebel move for- 
ward. Were they preparing to rush him? Baum strode 
across for a better look through the gun embrasure. 


He had drawn his long sword and was unhooking the 
scabbard to hand it to his orderly, when the ammuni- 
tion tumbril blew up. Propelled by the blast, Baum 
pitched forward. Everyone in the barricade was 
shocked and stunned. All firing ceased as the soldiers 
stared in dazed wonderment at this new havoc that 
had been added to the havoc of battle. It was then 
that the American attack came. 

They came down over the top of the logs and 
around the corners of the open wings of the barri- 
cade. They came charging up out of the gullies in 
the rear. They shouted and yelled, and some were 
screaming the name of Jennie McCrea. The Germans 
fought hard for their lives, swinging their muskets 
against those of the Yankees. Some of the troopers 
had out their sabers and stood at bay, fending off the 
jabs of the rifle-barrels. Stones were hurled, while 
men grappled together in straining silence. Over- 
whelmed, those Germans who could, fled down the 
hill into the trees. Again on his feet, Baum gathered 
about him a group of dragoons, and in some kind of 
order they began to cut their way through a ring of 
Yankees. They were making good progress toward 
the west summit when a musket ball took the colonel 
through the body. He sagged, dropped to his knees, 
tried to rise, and fell heavily. All resistance ended 
with the fall of Colonel Friederich Baum. 

General Stark did not get to Baum's hill until the 
battle was over, nor was he able to organize an im- 
mediate pursuit. When asked which way the sur- 
vivors had gone, each officer pointed in a different 


direction. Few had got away at all. Almost all of 
Baum's Germans dragoons, Jagers, light infantry, 
and gunners were dead, wounded, or dazed prison- 
ers of war, seated under guard in their log barricade. 
Most of those seen going away had disappeared into 
the woods that stretched north a hundred miles to 
Canada and the St. Lawrence. Stark knew that they 
would wander there, lost, until they died or were 
found, gibbering from their discovery of the forest's 
immensity. As if in support of Stark's surmise, the 
small sound made by a single shot drifted in from 
the direction of the mountain. Somewhere over there, 
Burgoyne's Indians were scavenging the far outer 
edge of the battle. 

From the prisoners, Stark learned of the looked-for 
reinforcements, not yet arrived; nor was there any 
sign of their approach. With his own troops scattered 
and playing amid the spoils of war, he realized that 
he must act at once to prevent a surprise attack 
against himself. Quickly gathering a force together, 
he set out in the direction of the Sancoik mill. Before 
mounting, however, he sent for Warner's fresh regi- 
ment; his own men, he saw as they marched past, 
were all but spent after their exertions during the op- 
pressive heat of the long afternoon. Though a sparely 
built man, Stark himself had sweated through his 
blue uniform coat until it was black across the shoul- 


The Road Beside the Walloomsac 

For the grenadiers of Colonel Breymann's reserve 
force, the march through the heat of the afternoon 
was agony. At the frequent halts to dress ranks, when 
the men straightened their high-fronted hats, the 
metal plates of their caps were almost too hot to 
touch. Sweat streamed down their faces and ran into 
the tight stocks at their throats. But under the harsh 
eye of their colonel they kept together, and only a 
few of the really sick dared to fall out. These now 
staggered on, holding onto the tailgates of the carts 
that brought up the rear, behind Lieutenant Spangen- 
berg's two 6-pounders. 

It took all of the morning of 16 August to cover the 
seven miles to Cambridge. Beyond that village, Brey- 
mann's force moved faster. At two o'clock in the 
afternoon they were met on the road by the draft 
horses which Baum had sent to them by Philip Skene. 
That officer had remained at the Sancoik bridges with 
with a handful of reliable men, to protect the bridges 
against possible malicious destruction. Skene asked 
Breymann to send a proper bridge guard on ahead, 
and, while the fresh horses were being hitched to the 


guns, tumbrils, and wagons, Major Ferdinand von 
Earner led out the eighty men of his light infantry 
detachment. Free of the ponderous shock troops, von 
Earner's quick young soldiers swung off up the road 
to the Sancoik mill. 

At half-past four, Colonel Breymann's horse 
clumped over the planking of the mill bridge. Behind 
him, singing their dismal marching hymns, the tall, 
erect grenadiers were making the left turn into the 
Bennington road. Breymann found Skene and von 
Earner on the shady side of the mill, interviewing the 
first escapees from Baum's battle on the Walloomsac. 
The men brought conflicting estimates and impres- 
sions of the battle and its outcome. A Tory said that 
Baum was completely cut off and was fighting for his 
life. A sallow British officer, who had been with the 
Indians, said that things were not so bad though of 
course the Indians had fled. Two German officers who 
had been cut off from their men when Herrick in- 
filtrated Baum's rear position concurred with the 
calm opinion held by the British gentleman in forest 
garb. As the officers talked and the column of grena- 
diers trudged by, a single dragoon mounted on a 
spent horse rode in from the east. His tale of the 
fighting on Baum's hill was one of woe and disaster. 
But as the man was only a trooper without the cre- 
dentials of a courier, his word was ignored, and he 
himself, under suspicion of cowardice and desertion, 
was turned over to the provost guard at the rear of 
the column. 

A mile up the road toward Bennington, Major 
Skene, now riding with Colonel Breymann at the 


head o the reinforcing column, appeared to have 
cause for his optimism. Halfway across a large field, 
where a rail fence snaked down from the woods, 
lolled a group of some twenty-odd farmers, waiting 
for the column to come abreast. Skene could see, 
pinned in each of their hats, the white paper patch 
of the Loyalist. Stepping his horse carefully through 
the muddy ditch, Major Skene gave the animal its 
head and a touch of the spur as it came up onto the 
harder ground of the field. The horse plunged ahead 
to go at a gallop, but was checked by Skene into a 
more dignified canter. Two men in stained rifle-shirts 
had risen up from behind the rail fence, and to the 
Tory leader's surprise, were aiming their rifles at him! 
Skene pulled hard on the reins and felt the horse 
sink back on its haunches, as its front feet lifted from 
the ground. With a sickening sensation, the Major 
felt his mount continue to rise under him. He was 
aware of the two shots, as the horse screamed and 
tossed its head high. The reins went loose in his 
hands and Skene half slid, half jumped from the 
saddle in time to throw himself free, as the stricken 
beast came crashing over and down. 

On the road, von Earner's light infantry already 
was in extended order to the flank and was firing on 
the Yankees, all of whom were now behind the rail 
fence. Breymann was shouting orders in harsh Ger- 
man, and as Skene gathered his legs under him to 
jump up and run for it, he could see and as an old 
soldier, approve the complicated evolution which 
was bringing the lead company of grenadiers into 
line to the front. 


Safely behind the blue and white ranks of von 
Rhetz's grenadiers, Major Skene was scraping the 
mud from his clothes when Spangenberg's guns went 
forward on the right of the road. The Tory looked up, 
and over the broad shoulders of the Germans he saw 
that a company of rebels had deployed, with more 
of their fellows coming down the road behind them. 
The volley fired by von Rhetz's company was a fool- 
ish one; at their distance it could only waste ammuni- 
tion. But as the thick, acrid powder smoke cleared 
slowly away in the heavy air, Skene noticed that the 
grenadiers had their ramrods out to reload for yet 
another volley. Only cannon-fire could break up the 
enemy formation now. Spangenberg already had un- 
limbered his first gun, and the crew was loading from 
the trail-box magazine. The other 6-pounder wheeled 
smartly in front of it to bring it around into align- 
ment, gun-wheel to gun-wheel, muzzle to the enemy. 
A crackle of rifle and musket fire flitted up and down 
the rail fence where the rebels disguised as Tories 
first had been. Now, near where Skene's horse lay, 
there were other still figures. They were light infantry 
dead, left behind as their skirmish line went forward. 
But when von Earner and his men reached the fence, 
the Yankees had gone. 

Spangenberg's guns were now in action, and at 
long last the grenadiers of the von Rhetz regiment 
had stopped their futile volley firing and were mov- 
ing forward with bayonets fixed and presented to the 
fore. The rebel fire had all but ceased; the rebels 
were now streaming back along the road by which 


they had come. Skene had to step out of the road as 
the next company of grenadiers came up in column. 
His left hip, which had landed on the hilt of his 
sword, was very painful. At the rear of the now mov- 
ing column, he would get another mount; but first he 
had to retrieve his saddle and bridle, and his pistols. 
Skene limped out onto the field. Some of the light 
infantry, now returning from their successful charge, 
would help him move the dead horse. 

On up the road to Bennington, Colonel Breymann 
marched his men. The singing was louder now, and 
the massed feet of the companies came down to- 
gether on a firmer beat. On the left of the grenadiers, 
the hunting horns of the light infantry sounded a con- 
fusion of attacks and recalls. Sections were sent off 
at the double to drive back the Yankee riflemen, who 
had dogged the column from the edge of the forest. 
At the rear of the German line of march, the ammuni- 
tion carts and the supply wagons fell behind the 
advance, as they halted to tend the wounded and 
salvage the dead, passed by in the forward press of 
the German advance. 

Twice, Breymann had deployed his lead company 
and unlimbered his guns. Twice, the grenadiers had 
followed up a thundering series of volleys with a 
bayonet charge that left them, gasping for breath, 
on the ground where the rebels had feigned a stand. 
Fatigue and discouragement overcame Breymann's 
trained regulars at the end of the long hot day. Tem- 
pers blew on the gray ash of exhaustion, which flared 
into jostling in the reforming ranks, loud words, and 


the too quick flaying of the officers' canes. Weariness 
was there, too, in the closely packed mass of men, 
as more and more heads turned to look at the 
wounded and the dead beside the road. Discourage- 
ment floated up to the surface of tired spirits, ready 
to plunge over into panic or to soar to the sublime 
achievement of heroic endeavor. 

John Stark's mixed force of militiamen from New 
Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts was as fa- 
tigued as Breymann's regulars. The men tried to stand 
in the open and meet the oncoming grenadiers with a 
blast of aimed fire, but they grew wary as they saw 
the cannon unlimber and prepare to load. There was 
an omnipotence in the unity of the crashing volley- 
fire, causing the militiamen to duck their heads, 
though reason should have told them that the range 
was out. At last, when the line moved forward, with 
the low afternoon sun glinting on the ice-blue bayo- 
nets, the men of the Yankee militia scattered like 
lumbermen from the fall of a tree. 

Twice, Stark brought the fleeing militia back into 
line, and twice they ran away. Not until they fell 
back into Colonel Warner's Continentals, coming up 
with the 3-pounder captured at the Walloomsac 
bridge, did the militia steady down and prepare to 
hold their line. They ranged themselves from the 
marshy ground by the river bank on the left, up to 
the road where Stark himself was loading and aiming 
the little 3-pounder, and on toward the open right 
flank, short of the woods. Behind the militia, the 
three hundred and fifty Continentals waited in re- 


A quiet calm had settled, too, over all of Colonel 
Breymann's men, as they recognized the fast ap- 
proaching climax of the day's battle. The company 
commanders, short of ammunition, were holding 
back on the volley fire, while several of the light in- 
fantry had slung their useless rifles and drawn their 
short curved swords. 

Lieutenant Spangenberg was having trouble bring- 
ing up his guns. As the river side of the road now 
appeared to be marshy and soft, he had attempted 
to gallop the guns through the field on the left of 
the column. But in doing so his teams had come 
under fire from the rebel riflemen at the edge of the 
wood. The near leader of his number-one gun had 
been brought down in a tangled mass of horses and 
harness and riders. The gunners were now hauling 
that gun forward with drag-ropes. An off horse on the 
number-two gun had been wounded and was becom- 
ing unmanageable. Major Skene, who had joined 
Spangenberg, was reaching from his saddle for the 
head of the frightened beast, when, for the second 
time that day, his horse was shot from under him and 
he went down. Spangenberg himself rode in to gain 
control of the team, and somehow the gun was got 
forward into position. Undaunted, Skene had cut a 
gun-horse free from the number-one limber and was 
mounted again. The lieutenant sent him back to find 
the ammuntion cart and bring it up along the road. 
For the guns, now without teams, this was their last 
stand; they would need ammunition. 

Before the guns could be brought into action, von 
Earner had led his light infantry across the field in a 


flanking movement, intended to envelop the Yankees' 
short right wing. Warner and Stark, standing beside 
the American gun, saw them move out and guessed 
at their intention. No order was necessary between 
the militia general and the Continental regimental 
colonel; the New Hampshire and the Congress troops 
were now working in concert. With a swing of his 
arm, Warner set his Green Mountain Boys in motion. 
At a slow, steady jog-trot, they followed Seth Warner 
behind the ragged lines of the New Hampshire men, 
who turned to grin as their neighbors passed by. 
They met von Earner's men behind the American 
right, and the seventy-odd German light infantry fell 
back under the pressure of Warner's three hundred 
and fifty fresh troops, themselves natural light in- 
fantrymen or rangers. 

Outnumbered and outflanked, Colonel Breymann's 
resolve weakened as the Yankees, encouraged by 
Warner's fresh troops, opened a telling fire at long 
range. No counter-charge came from Baum. From the 
number of rebels harassing him, the Brunswick colo- 
nel reluctantly assumed that the troops he had been 
sent to reinforce had already been defeated. The 
single dragoon (now with the provost guard) must 
have been right. But not only Baum was "in great 
danger"; equally in danger were Breymann and his 

Colonel Breymann gave the order to retreat. No 
light infantry remained to cover the grenadiers, as 
they fell back in their ordered blocks of companies. 
Von Earner had reported to Breymann the loss of his 


fine corps against Warner's men. As he reported that 
all of his officers were casualties, he pressed his linen 
handkerchief against the deep wound in his chest. 
Spangenberg, too, was dead, and was thus spared the 
sight of his guns, unattended and abandoned in the 
gap between the retreating and the advancing armies. 

For two miles, Colonel Breymann kept his grena- 
diers in order. Then, as the bridges of Sancoik drew 
near and darkness fell, the discipline by which his 
life was lived suddenly snapped. Somehow in the 
gloom the grenadiers of von Rhetz and the grenadiers 
of the Regiment von Specht, both of which had suf- 
fered heavy casualties, became intermixed. Shouts 
and orders flew about. In the other companies, a 
bleary-eyed officer cried "Attack!" and tried to form 
up his men, while a second officer, shaking off a film 
of torpor, shouted "Halt!" Rifle shots from the Ameri- 
cans, who were dogging the German retreat, poured 
into the confusion. A ball took Breymann in the leg. 
Sudden panic seized the whole corps of grenadiers. 
In an instant, they collapsed into a frightened mass 
of fleeing men. Carried along in their midst was the 
limping Lieutenant Colonel Heinrich Christoph von 
Breymann. He was badly hurt. 

A few Americans followed the grenadiers over the 
mill bridge. But it was too dark for aimed shots, and 
they had used up most of their powder and ball. 
Then, too, the mill stream looked cool and inviting as 
they passed over the bridge. The day had been as 
hot and close as any they could remember. 


At Headquarters 

Following the Battle of Bennington (as John Stark's 
victory over the German mercenaries came to be 
known) a midsummer torpor settled over all the 
armies on the upper Hudson: British, American, and 
Sovereign New Hampshire. Victory and defeat alike 
seemed to be accepted philosophically by all the op- 
posed commanders. Energy was addled, ambition 
brooded, and hope rested on distant eventualities. 

For the cosy Baroness Riedesel, the period of mili- 
tary inertia that began in mid-August 1777 was a very 
happy time. Her family was reunited. Fourteen 
months earlier, she had left her home in Wolf enbiittel 
to follow her husband to North America. The infant 
Caroline had now grown into a sturdy little girl, able 
to walk across the lawn if she held tightly to the 
scabbard of her father's sword. Friederika was a shy 
three-year-old, while Augusta, at six, was a regal 
young lady who accepted as her due the homage of 
generals and of privates. At Fort Edward, where the 
baroness had made a home for her husband and her 
little daughters in the Red House headquarters, Gen- 



eral Riedesel's duties were such as to bring him home 
almost every night. Being a soldier's wife and the 
daughter of a soldier, the baroness did not mind too 
much the fact that all five members of her family had 
to share a single small room at headquarters. She 
tucked them all in somehow, and even kept an eye 
on her two maids, who slept on pallets in the hall. 
The general's four aides were in die house, too, and 
bluflE old General Phillips, who had been an easy 
capture for the young and pretty baroness, was a 
frequent visitor to the Red House, which served also 
as commissary headquarters for the army. 

Friederika Riedesel particularly enjoyed the eve- 
nings. Then, she would preside at dinner, served 
under the trees beside the river; or when it rained, as 
it did so often during that wet, humid summer, she 
would have her faithful servant, Rockel, set up the 
tables in the barn. Each night there was some new 
guest, usually an officer on his way either to or from 
General Burgoyne's headquarters at Fort Miller, 
where the wife of an absent commissary acted as 
hostess for Gentleman Johnny. After dinner the 
baroness withdrew, as was proper for a lady. In her 
small room, while her children slept, she mended 
their clothes and hummed little gay songs to herself, 
to the distant accompaniment of the men's conversa- 
tion as they drank a convivial bottle under the trees 
or played at cards around the big staff table in the 
room below. 

Baroness Riedesel was very happy. Soon enough 
would come the day when the big calash which had 


been made for her in Canada would be rolled out, the 
horses hitched to it, and with the girls stowed safely 
behind, she would climb up onto the box with the 
good Rockel to follow the army once again. 

Beyond the outposts of General Burgoyne's army, 
twenty-six miles away at the mouth of the Mohawk 
River, General Philip Schuyler was closing down his 
headquarters in preparation for turning over the 
command of the northern army to his appointed suc- 
cessor, General Horatio Gates, Into one set of boxes 
Schuyler's personal staff filed the documents that told 
the history of their general's two-year stewardship of 
the northern frontier. On these papers would be 
based Philip Schuyler's defense in the court-martial 
proceedings ordered by the Congress to investigate 
the fall of Ticonderoga and Burgoyne's advance to 
the Hudson. In a second set of files were all the per- 
manent records of the army; these would facilitate 
the rapid and efficient turnover of command. 

In the course of that summer of 1777, General 
Schuyler's staff had packed up a succession of head- 
quarters. The first had been at Fort Edward, where 
Schuyler had stopped on learning that his lieutenant, 
General Arthur St. Clair, had saved his inadequate 
force by giving up the untenable forts at Ticonder- 
oga. For this retreat, which he had taken to avoid a 
stand which he knew to be hopeless, St. Clair, to- 
gether with Schuyler, was to face a court-martial. It 
was at Fort Edward that Schuyler set his axemen to 
the destruction of the Skenesborough road, impeding 


Burgoyne's inarch to the Hudson. There, too, John 
Nixon's brigade of Continentals had arrived to rein- 
force the northern army. Headquarters were at Fort 
Miller when the rear guard fell back from Fort Ed- 
ward, bringing the story of Jane McCrea's murder, 
and the local militia began to rally as tales spread of 
the savagery of Burgoyne's Indians. Schuyler's staff 
had unpacked and packed again the headquarters 
boxes at Saratoga, where Philip Schuyler sadly left 
in the path of the British army his own lovely country 
house beside the river. The staff had been busy at 
Stillwater, where headquarters next was established. 
On 8 August, the first messenger had arrived from 
the west, bringing word that Colonel Barry St. Leger 
was before Fort Stanwix, the gate to the Mohawk 
Biver valley on Albany's western approach. St. 
Leger's force was the now-exposed right claw of 
General Burgoyne's army, swooping out of the north. 
The next messenger told the tale of Nicholas Herki- 
mer's drawn battle at Oriskany, on the road to Stan- 
wix. Though gallantly fought, that encounter left 
the besieged garrison of Americans without help; it 
also put the whole Mohawk Valley in peril of an 
internecine war, should the Iroquois and the local 
Tories of St. Leger's army win through to their former 
homeland. In the big staff-room at Stillwater, General 
Schuyler had been forced to veto the contrary wish of 
a hostile council of his officers in order to send Major 
General Benedict Arnold, with Ebenezer Learned's 
brigade, to the relief of Fort Stanwix. Despite accusa- 
tions by the New England faction that Schuyler was 


deliberately, even treacherously, weakening his army 
before Burgoyne's main threat on the Hudson, Arnold 
dashed off eagerly to the promise of battle in the 
west. Staff work was heavy on the right flank of the 
American army, where Major General Benjamin 
Lincoln, a New Englander like Arnold and Schuy- 
ler's loyal lieutenant, was trying to argue with John 
Stark over the employment of the New Hampshire 
militia and the right to command those troops. 

It was a stormy headquarters that had been set up 
at Stillwater, with squalls blowing from the north and 
west and east to ruffle the papers on the trestle desks. 
Unknown to the northern army, the terrible swift 
lightning of the Continental Congress, sitting in 
Philadelphia, had already been loosed, and finally 
would strike down that army's dedicated general, 
Philip Schuyler. 

As the clerks and aides closed down his last head- 
quarters, Schuyler, in his Albany mansion, awaited 
his successor. General Gates did not arrive there until 
19 August, a fortnight after receiving from Congress 
his appointment to the command of the northern 

The only way to attain high rank in the British 
army of the eighteenth century was through noble 
birth, the Guards, or the influence of a patron (in 
breeches or in petticoats) who was close to the 
sovereign. Major Horatio Gates could count on none 
of these endowments, so his career as a soldier had, 
from its beginning, a well-defined ceiling. Through 


bravery and ability, while still in his thirties Gates 
had reached the rank of major. Further than that he 
could not go, in a British army that was to make use 
of his rare capacity for efficient staff organization to 
bolster the careers of more highly placed men, until 
in time he was put out to graze on the sparse mead- 
ows of retirement. His ambition whetted by his suc- 
cesses in North America during the French and In- 
dian War, Gates sold his commission in the army, 
tried for a worthy civil post, and once again was 
snubbed for his presumption. Finally, in 1772, he 
came out to Virginia, where he bought "Travellers 
Rest" and set himself up as a gentleman albeit a 
colonial one. 

By chance, and a snob's eye for a true aristocrat, 
Squire Gates happened to be calling upon George 
Washington at the time the latter was offered the 
command of the American army. Washington, who 
had soldiered with Gates, recognized in his guest an 
accomplished staff officer who would make a good 
adjutant general for the new army. The appointment 
carried the rank of brigadier general. 

Gates spent the year of the siege of Boston at Gen- 
eral Washington's headquarters, where his job with 
the personnel and the personalities of the Continental 
Army brought him into close contact with the New 
England leaders. With them, he developed an affinity 
nurtured by a common suspicion that the landed 
gentry sought to become a native American aristoc- 

In May 1776 Horatio Gates was promoted to major 


general and sent to command the American army 
then in Canada. When he sought to join his new com- 
mand he found it had been driven out of Canada, a 
disorganized, beaten rabble, seeking refuge in the 
military territory of the northern department, com- 
manded by the patroon Philip Schuyler. In the face 
of this desperate situation, Gates and Schuyler di- 
vided the authority on the menaced northern fron- 
tier. In supreme command, Schuyler remained at 
rear headquarters in Albany, maintaining liaison with 
General Washington and with the Congress. Gates 
commanded the troops from Ticonderoga, where he 
rebuilt the morale of the shattered army, and with 
the violently energetic Brigadier General Benedict 
Arnold (whom Gates flattered himself he could con- 
trol) had staved off a British invasion of New York 
during the campaign season of 1776. 

At Ticonderoga, Gates had had a taste of the 
independent high command of which he had 
dreamed. The true division of command on the 
northern lake actually lay between Schuyler's instinc- 
tive leadership, which Gates resented, and Arnold's 
driving energy, of which Gates was jealous. Gates's 
contribution to the campaign had been that of a staff 
officer, brilliant in matters of organization, painstak- 
ing in detail, yet lacking that spark which inspires 

Horatio Gates spent the winter of 1776-77 advanc- 
ing his own ambitions by ingratiating himself with 
the strong New England faction of the Continental 
Congress, whose military candidate he became. It 


was the jealously guarded prerogative of the Congress 
to make or break general officers o the Continental 
Army, without reference to or recommendation from 
the commander in chief. The machinations of this 
system caused John Stark to resign his colonelcy on 
being left off a new list of ten brigadier generals, and 
resulted in Benedict Arnold's being passed over for 
promotion to major general. 

In 1777 the New Englanders aimed to bring down 
the artistocratic New Yorker, Major General Philip 
Schuyler. The attack burst into flame when St. Glair 
let Ticonderoga fall to Burgoyne without a fight. It 
took no cognizance of the saving of the Continental 
core of Schuyler's inadequate little army. At each re- 
ceding step before Burgoyne, the accusations against 
Schuyler flared up anew, until they licked about the 
ominous word "treason." So virulent grew the charges, 
and so calumnious the rumors, that the Congress 
ordered the court-martial of both Schuyler and his 
lieutenant, Arthur St. Glair. By 4 August, the oily 
fat worm of gossip had consumed the high reputation 
of Philip Schuyler, and Horatio Gates was named to 
replace him. 

Two weeks later, Gates rode up to the door of the 
Schuyler mansion in Albany. Accompanying him was 
his aide and deputy adjutant general, Major James 
Wilkinson, a soft, small young man with the fibrous 
character of a clinging vine. 

Neither Gates nor Wilkinson tarried long in the 
correctly courteous atmosphere of Schuyler's house. 
On his way upriver, Horatio Gates had no time or in- 


clination to rest with the ebbing tide. The ship of his 
ambition lay with the army at the junction of the 
Mohawk and the Hudson rivers. There the vessel that 
Schuyler had rebuilt out of the shivered timbers of 
St. Glair's regiments lay anchored against the swirling 
flood of Burgoyne's advance. 

Far away to the south, in the wide mouth of Chesa- 
peake Bay, a British warship carried in its after-cabin 
another headquarters group, one which was to play a 
large part in the events shaping up on the Hudson 
River. General Sir William Howe sat down to dine 
with his brother, Admiral the Lord Howe. In the 
roadstead, awaiting the brothers' pleasure, lay a vast 
armada of transports with their naval escorts. Sir 
William Howe was on his way to invest and capture 
the rebel capital in Philadelphia. It was here, in the 
broad sea bay, that a fast dispatch boat bearing 
orders from England found Sir William. It was on 
that same day that Colonel Baum and Colonel Brey- 
mann met the Yankees on the Walloomsac. 

The orders, which the General read and passed 
across the table to the Admiral, were fourteen weeks 
old. In them, Lord George Germaine, writing from 
London, requested Howe to co-operate with General 
Burgoyne's northern army. No urgency was indicated 
in the cabinet minister's letter. It was merely the 
expression, on the part of a gentleman, of a wish that, 
when a second gentleman's plans were quite con- 
cluded, he should go to the assistance of a third. 

There were other letters from London in the newly 

Lieutenant General John Burgoyne 

Major General Baron von Riedesel Brigadier General Simon Fraser 

Major General Horatio Gates 

Major General Benedict Arnold 

Fort Ticonderoga Museum Collection 


arrived packet, letters that the brothers could share 
as they lingered over their port in the Admiral's 
spacious cabin. There had been a third brother, 
George, who was also a soldier. He was now dead, 
killed by a Frenchman's bullet in 1758, at that same 
Fort Ticonderoga which Johnny Burgoyne had re- 
cently captured from the Yankees. 

The shoreline outside the cabin windows was ob- 
scured by the heat haze. When a wind rose to carry 
the British fleet further up into Chesapeake Bay, the 
two brothers would part, die General to try Washing- 
ton and gain Philadelphia, the Admiral to patrol the 
North American coast and the West Indies. 

Sir Henry Clinton was more consciously concerned 
with Burgoyne's descent of the Hudson River to Al- 
bany than was Sir William Howe, the commander of 
all British troops in North America. Clinton was in 
New York City with an army of four thousand 
regulars. Howe had left him there to hold the city 
and the port. In an offhand and casual way that de- 
ceptively shifted responsibility, Howe had also in- 
structed him to aid in Burgoyne's invasion. But 
Henry Clinton's army was too small for him to send 
a part of it up the Hudson, where an American army 
barred the highland. He must await the reinforce- 
ments which were known to have left England in 

So General Clinton waited, too, in his pleasant, 
well-appointed headquarters in New York. Through 
the hot month of August he waited for the troopships 


making the slow passage from England to New York. 
He waited for messengers making the dangerous 
journey through the rebel lines that separated him 
from his friend John Burgoyne. Still far out to sea the 
troop ships butted the North Atlantic trade winds, 
making slow progress. The messengers would never 
come; they hung from the limbs of trees with the 
ripening apples, the placard "Spy" pinned on their 
chests below the taut rope that bit deep into their 

The occasional courier who did get through gave 
Clinton little cause for alarm on behalf of the army 
to the north. Burgoyne wrote of his hope to reach 
Albany by 22, August. Neither British general had yet 
been convinced that the rebels would fight, though 
both had been at Bunker Hill. On 10 August Clinton 
had written to Burgoyne that he believed the rebel- 
lion would soon be over. 

August had gone by and September was half over 
when a haggard messenger got through from Bur- 
goyne to Clinton with the alarming news that the 
northern army was still forty miles above Albany at a 
pkce called Saratoga. Concern splashed the cool 
faade of Sir Henry Clinton's studied Guardsman's 
calm. He looked down the harbor, where for so long 
he had expected to see the troopships coming through 
the Narrows. 

It was more than a week before they finally came. 
Clinton did not wait for the new troops to disembark 
and find their land legs after the three months* pas- 
sage. He gathered up three thousand infantrymen 


and headed up the Hudson, to divert the Yankees and 
to assist General Burgoyne. At last, in a clear revela- 
tion of the events of an indolent summer, Clinton was 
making "a desperate attempt on a desperate oc- 


"Q" and "A" 

Captain de la Naudiere, immaculate except for a 
day's stubble awoke General Burgoyne at the Duer 
House headquarters as soon as word came of the 
defeat of Baum and of Breymann's desperate situa- 
tion. Aides, their stocks hastily tied and their eyes 
heavy with sleep, galloped down the river road 
from Fort Miller to rout out the 47th of Foot, biv- 
ouacked at the mouth of the Batten Kill and there- 
fore in closest proximity to the retreating Brunswick- 
ers. Burgoyne himself arrived in time to lead out the 
six companies of Wolfe's own 47th to the aid and 
succor of the mauled grenadiers. 

Colonel Breymann met Burgoyne with punctilious 
correctness: a doffing of his hat and a short bow from 
the saddle. At the movement, a sharp stab of pain ran 
up the German's injured leg, but the flush in his 
heavy face was not that of fever. It came, rather, 
from the inner hurt of smoldering self-anger, of trucu- 
lent self-defense, of patched-up pride, and of unex- 
pended fury. With an inherent courtesy, Burgoyne 
acknowledged the greeting with a low bow, in a mark 
of respect which gave no hint of mockery or censure 


V AND A 149 

toward the colonel of his beaten troops. Turning to 
Nicholas Sutherland, the colonel of the 47th, General 
Burgoyne requested him to have his regiment line 
the road. 

So it was that Breymann's grenadiers marched back 
into the perimeter of the invasion army's camp, be- 
tween the correctly respectful files of their British 
comrades-at-arms. The grenadiers sang in their ranks. 
In front of them Burgoyne and Breymann rode in 
silence. In the rear of the German column the 
wounded dragged along under the awed stare of the 
stiff ranks of the 47th, who had not yet met the 
Yankee rifleman. Behind the retiring army, the rutted, 
muddy, pitted road wound away through the forest 
to Cambridge, to the Sancoik mill, where the streams 
marked a ragged cross at the edge of the Hudson 
Valley, and on up the Walloomsac River into the 
green hills around Bennington. 

Of Baum's seven hundred and fifty men, only a 
scattered handful returned to the camp of Burgoyne's 
army. These were the frightened, haggard men who 
had found their way through the dense woods, avoid- 
ing alike the Yankee rangers and Stockbridge Indians, 
and their own scalping, scavenging Indian bands. 
The four guns of the Hesse-Hanau Artillery orna- 
mented the tavern green at Bennington, where bound 
Tory prisoners cringed under the scorn of former 
neighbors, and blond German boys tended minor 
wounds, turning dull, expressionless eyes to the 
curious Vermonters who came to stare at the hireling 


Of Burgoyne's Canadian Indians, only those with 
scalps and loot to turn into cash returned to the 
Hudson. As they packed up their traps, they told the 
officers, who came to remind them of their promises 
and to urge them to stay, that the sun which once 
rose so bright was now obscured by dark and gloomy 
clouds threatening a deluge. Blaming the weather, 
in this obvious parable, the last of the Indian war- 
riors who had danced on the banks of the Bouquet 
River now left the British army. 

As the Bennington force retreated, Eraser's advance 
corps already on the west bank of the Hudson 
fell back. They had crossed on a bridge of rafts, and 
were only waiting for word from Bennington that 
Baum had captured the magazine of stores and the 
Yankee horse lines before they moved on down the 
Hudson to the commanding heights at StUlwater. 
Without the stores the advance corps could not go 
on, and after the torrential rains of 15 August swept 
away their bridge, Fraser found himself isolated and 
vulnerable on the western shore of the river. Lieuten- 
ant John Schank of the Royal Navy ferried them 
back to the east bank in a fleet scratched together 
from any available bateaux and scows. 

While across the river, Thomas Anburey, a gentle- 
man-volunteer accompanying the advance guard, was 
given the opportunity that he had sought when he 
volunteered to follow the army. There had occurred 
a vacancy in the complement of officers of the 24th 
Foot, which Anburey was invited to fill. He accepted 
the invitation with alacrity, and a brother officer lent 

it 19 ___ ** 99 

Q" AND A" 151 

him a hank of red-dyed horsehair to sew into his cap, 
and a silver epaulet for his shoulder. Once again in 
the old bivouac on the Batten Kill, Anburey found 
time to write another letter to his friend in England. 
The new bit of braid was ever present in the corner 
of his eye, as he bent over the tablet on his knee, writ- 
ing of his hope of becoming the captain of a company 
by the end of autumn. His was the eternal optimism 
of the soldier: he was immortal in a dead man's 
shoes; death could not come to him. 

Yet the end of the campaign had come for many 
officers and men. Of the German contingent alone, 
twenty-six officers were casualties of the Bennington 
expedition: all the dragoons, nine officers of von 
Earner's light infantry and J'dger corps, and many 
cavalrymen had fallen, dead or wounded, to the long 
brown rifles of the "Yankees." In the days follow- 
ing Breymann's return, the camp was filled with men 
convalescing from their wounds. Colonel Breymann 
hobbled about, using his gold-headed cane as a staff 
rather than a rod, while his men, chastened after 
their panic, pointed out to each other the five crudely 
patched rents in his campaign coat, where bullets had 
passed him close by. Lieutenant Hannemann, his 
neck swathed in linen bandages, hoped that by lying 
very still he would recover in time to go on with the 
expedition. But when Captain von Geyso, who came 
in every day to have a flesh wound dressed, ordered 
him back to Canada, Hannemann could neither voice 
a protest nor shake his head in refusal 

For the wounded, bound for Canada, the road was 


long and painful. Lieutenant Hannemann found the 
jolting of the Canadian cart, returning empty, too 
painful to endure, so he got out and walked. He did 
not try to keep up, trusting his luggage to the driver 
and only hoping to find it intact at the boat landing 
on Lake George. From the point of the army on the 
Batten Kill to Fort Edward, the wounded Yager 
walked through the British wing of General Bur- 
goyne's army. He met work parties of the 9th, the 
20th, and the 21st patching and repairing the road. 
The soldiers looked at him blankly, without compas- 
sion, as though he were an alien instead of an ally. 
He found German friends around Burgoyne's head- 
quarters at the Duer House, where he rested, catch- 
ing a glimpse of cool white summer dresses beside 
the tea table in the shade of the tall elms. 

At Fort Edward, Lieutenant Hannemann stopped 
at the hospital to get a clean dressing for his neck. On 
the island and on the bank of the Hudson, the army 
was building up its main stock-pile, which it would 
carry forward on the march to Albany. The quarter- 
masters stood, their legs apart, checking and counting 
barrels of flour and pork as squads of sweating sol- 
diers rolled them down planks at the open tailgates 
of the carts. Everyone was working hard and cheer- 
fully at tasks which they knew to have urgent im- 
portance. Bateaux lined the river bank, while on the 
shore caulkers with their wedges and mauls tamped 
the long strings of greasy brown tun into the open 
seams, readying still more boats for the river road. 
John Schank, his white shirt open at the throat, stood 
knee deep in the muddy brown water, helping a 

Q AND A 153 

squad of sailors launch a strange-looking pontoon. In 
the lee of the island, a raft of similar pontoons was 
anchored and moored. When completed, with tim- 
bers across their gunwales and planks spiked on top 
of the timbers, each pair of pontoons would make a 
segment of a floating bridge which would keep pace 
with the army and would link the two shores of the 
Hudson. Over Schank's bridge, the army could march 
across the Mohawk River, the last natural obstacle 
before they reached Albany. 

Beyond Fort Edward, the road to Lake George was 
maintained and guarded by the troops of RiedeseFs 
division. This was the critical stretch of Burgoyne's 
supply road. Since the western and Canadian Indians 
had gone home, the people who lived on farms along 
the poor road that followed the west bank of the 
Hudson had grown bold. Impromptu bands of "cow- 
boys" under self-appointed ensigns and captains at- 
tacked any scout or foraging party from Burgoyne's 
army when they ventured across the river. Every 
British wagon-train that passed between Fort Ed- 
ward and Lake George was in danger of being way- 
laid by a determined force of these Charlotte County 
rangers. To protect the convoys, Brigadier General 
Johan Friederich von Specht kept his headquarters 
at the Jones farm. There, where the road began its 
climb out of the Hudson Valley and entered a moun- 
tain defile, the wagonmasters would be joined by a 
strong escort of German infantry which would con- 
duct them through the vulnerable pass, to the landing 
place at the head of Lake George. 

The boat trip down the Lake George leg of Bur- 


goyne's supply route gave Lieutenant Hannemann 
and the other wounded men from the Battle of 
Bennington a last awed look at the terrible deep 
woods of North America. High, steep mountains 
squeezed in on the narrow blue ribbon of water. The 
boat convoys stayed in the middle of the lake, shun- 
ning the inhospitable and seemingly deserted shores 
of stark, gray rock and thick underbrush that clogged 
the forests blanketing the mountain slopes. 

Not until Ticonderoga did the road to Canada 
emerge from the woods. At that point European 
civilization began again for those who, since early 
in July, had been in the wild lands between the old 
fort and the crude way-stations on the road to Al- 
bany. To the weary men from the fighting point of 
the army the big vessels of the Royal Navy, anchored 
in the basin below the forts, gave promise of a swift 
passage to the city streets of Montreal. 

During the last two weeks of August 1777 an( ^ 
the first days of September the British post at Ticon- 
deroga underwent a change in its character and pur- 
pose. After the battle fought on the Hubbardton road, 
a steady trickle of sick and wounded had found the 
way back to Ticonderoga, to its hospitals and the 
boats that would take them to Canada. The western 
Indians had paddled their big canoes silently under 
the high cliff at the tip of the Ticonderoga peninsula. 
Warily, the garrison had watched as the Canadian 
tribes paused at the landing place on their journey 
north. After the battle at Bennington, men of the 
Prinz Friederich regiment had tenderly lifted the 

V AND "A" 155 

stretcher cases who liad survived the trip and had 
laid them on the decks of the Canada-bound vessels. 
Then, in late August, came Indian refugees women 
and children from the Mohawk villages west of Al- 
bany, driven from their ancient homeland by the 
rebels after their tribal brothers, under Joseph 
Brandt, had fought with St. Leger's forces at die 
Battle of Oriskany. Burgoyne employed the refugee 
men as much-needed scouts; the others he sent on 
the long, weary trial to a new home in Canada. 

About i September the last of the reinforcements 
for General Burgoyue's army left Fort Ticonderoga 
on their way south. These were culls from the regi- 
mental rear parties which had been left at Montreal 
Men who in June had been thought too old or too 
feeble to march with the proud battalions now, in 
September, appeared able and fit to the man-hungry 
colonels of wan and slim battalions, anxious to keep 
their place in Burgoyne's line of battle. 

Not many days after the final draft of reinforce- 
ments went through to the army on the upper Hud- 
son, the last shipment of supplies from Canada was 
unloaded at the wharves at Ticonderoga. With the 
expediting of this final cargo, Fort Ticonderoga and 
its garrison reverted to a purely military role. Steve- 
dores went back to being soldiers, cargo checkers 
again became drill sergeants, and officers moved out 
from the cool shade of the quarters to reappraise 
defense positions and to lay out new fields of fire. On 
down the supply line, the last cart was packed, the 


last bateau loaded, and one by one the transhipping 
points were closed down. When a sweating carter at 
Fort Edward rolled the last barrel o flour to the tail- 
gate of his wagon, and remarked to the two privates 
who reached to ease the barrel down that this was 
"the one we've been looking for/* Burgoyne's army 
was completely and finally cut off from its Canadian 

General Burgoyne had cast himself adrift. He now 
floated in a hostile sea, with no friendly relieving 
feature on a nearby horizon toward which to steer. 
Between his army and Canada there remained only 
the sprawling complex of forts at Ticonderoga and a 
small post on Diamond Island, stepping-stones along 
the long way he had come. On their tight island, the 
two companies of the 47th invited a neutralizing raid 
by "cowboys" from the west bank of the Hudson. 
Even the great fortifications at Ticonderoga were 
vulnerable to Yankee attack. There, Brigadier Gen- 
eral Henry Watson Powell, humorless but confidently 
tenacious, had been left with two weak regiments. 
With his main strength across Lake Champlain on 
Mount Independence, Powell kept watch on the 
slopes to the eastward, where Warner's Continentals 
and Stark's New Hampshire men threatened to 
scythe around Burgoyne. 

Burgoyne knew that, between himself and Albany, 
the American army, now under a defensive General 
Horatio Gates, was digging in across his way. Of 
what was taking place beyond and behind the rebel 
lines he knew nothing at all. The long-expected word 

"Q" AND "A" 157 

that Sir Henry Clinton was marching up the Hudson 
to the aid of the northern army failed to come. 
Couriers, sent out to meet the general coming from 
New York, turned back, unable to find a way through 
or around Gates's army. No spies came to the camp 
above the Batten Kill with rumor or gossip on which 
to base either hope or despair. Burgoyne drifted in a 
silent sea, with no echoing answer to his cries for 

One messenger did get through to the Duer House 
at Fort Miller. He was an Indian from St. Leger's 
force, besieging Fort Stanwix, but the dateline of the 
letter that he handed to the general read "Oswego, 
2/th August," and Johnny Burgoyne needed to read 
no further to know that Barry St. Leger had fallen 

Neither bluff nor threats had been able to bring 
about the capitulation of Fort Stanwix. St. Leger had 
run regular siege approaches to within a hundred 
and fifty yards of the fort. With a mine ready to be 
laid under the northwest bastion, St. Leger's Iroquois, 
surly and dissatisfied since the Battle of Oriskany, 
had mutinied. Two hundred Indians had deserted in 
a body, but those that remained had demanded that 
the siege be raised, while rumors spread that the 
invincible Benedict Arnold was coming with an army 
that could be numbered only with the leaves in the 
trees. As St. Leger deliberated with his British and 
Tory officers, the Indians ran amok They pillaged 
the tents of the officers and menaced the soldiers. The 
council of war broke up with the officers hurrying 


to rejoin their units, which already were running 
away, as much to escape their own Indian "allies" 
as from fear of the supposed approach of Arnold. 

From Oswego, on Lake Ontario, St. Leger wrote 
that he was hastening with his troops, to put them 
under Burgoyne's command. But the general on the 
upper Hudson knew that it was four hundred weary 
miles to Oswego, and that long before Barry St. Leger 
and his seven hundred regulars and Tories could 
come up to him he must either be in Albany or 
climbing back up his severed supply line into safe 
and secure winter quarters. 

John Burgoyne never seriously considered a re- 
treat. As a soldier, his orders were as clear to him, 
and as enduring, as a fife tune: he was to force his 
way to Albany, where he was to put himself under 
command of General Howe. 

After the failure to capture stores and horse-trans- 
port at Bennington, Burgoyne was four weeks in 
building up the twenty-five days* supplies which he 
deemed necessary to carry the army to Albany. At 
last, on 11 September, all was in readiness. Wagons 
were packed, boats were loaded, and Schank's float- 
ing bridge was anchored across the Hudson. Von 
Specht's brigade had rolled its blankets and moved 
to Fort Edward. Baroness Riedesel still had the last 
of the children's clothes hanging on the line; when 
the order came to move out, her maid would quickly 
gather them up, and the children would have clean 
clothes all the way to Albany. The commissary's wife, 
in her gray traveling dress, sat by the fire in the de- 


serted Duer House headquarters. Gentleman Johnny 
had gone to his field headquarters on the Batten Kill, 
leaving her with her baggage wagons and his own, 
She would dine alone, unless a staff officer should 
come back on some errand and join her. 



During the afternoon of 11 September, the rain, 
which had been threatening, began to fall. The pre- 
paratory order to move out was cancelled. The six 
thousand men of General Burgoyne's army went into 
bivouac along the ten miles of road that lay on the 
east bank of the Hudson from the Batten Kill to Fort 

The following day, the army woke to a steady 
drizzle. Stiff and cold, the men (and the women) 
cursed the land in which they found themselves, 
cursed their lot as soldiers, and cursed the enemy 
that stood in their way to the comfortable billets 
awaiting them in Albany. 

John Schank spent the day pacing the planks of his 
floating bridge as though it were a quarterdeck. 
While his crew of sailors bailed put the pontoons, the 
land-locked naval officer kept a close watch on the 
taut anchor cables that held his odd-looking com- 
mand firmly in place across the current. He had lost 
one makeshift bridge to the torrential summer rains 
of August. Now every drop of rain splashing on the 



flat waters of the Hudson River seemed to threaten, 
for a second time, the engineering feat that Schank 
had accomplished. The present structure was so con- 
trived that, should the flood rise on the river above, 
Schank could quickly disconnect the segments and 
float them out of harm's way until the spate of water 
had passed. But the rains of September differed from 
the August deluge. They were cold and silent, pene- 
trating and harsh, and they lay on the land like the 
snows which they presaged. 

The rain stopped during the night, and before the 
guard corporal woke the drummers whose din began 
the army's day of march, the sentries had seen the 
stars come out all over the sky. The road dried 
quickly in the warm sun, and before noon the first 
contingent moved out onto the bridge. Most of the 
men in the army saw their general that day. Gentle- 
man Johnny Burgoyne stood on the high bank on the 
west side of the Hudson, his constant aide, Sir Francis 
Garr Clarke, beside him, taking the salute of the colo- 
nels as they came up, all grinning, onto the new and 
hopeful side of the river. As the companies streamed 
by, they cheered Burgoyne, who waved the plumed 
and crested cap which, like them, he was wearing, 
and called back the watchword of the day: "Britons 
never retreat!" 

General Phillips rode up and dismounted to watch 
Captain Thomas Jones bring his brigade guns off the 
bridge. Each gun and limber-team in turn trotted 
out on to the planking. As they reached the far shore 
the drivers lifted their teams into a rattling gallop 


and, with whips flaying, brought their limbers and 
guns up the steep cut to the top of the bank, mud 
flying, harness chains ajingle. On the road, the wild- 
eyed horses were reined into a steady trot to close 
up with the red-coated infantry, and to clear the 
bridgehead for the next gun to cross over the Hudson. 

Baron Riedesel kept his German contingent on the 
east shore for two more days. Two miles down the 
west shore, the British had come to Saratoga, and to 
a rich bounty which they paused to gather. At Philip 
Schuyler's country seat the harvest was full. Fields 
of ripened wheat quilted the wide folds of the high- 
lands around the house, and eight-foot stalks of 
maize, like rustic soldiery, ranked row upon row 
along the side of the road to Albany. In the deserted 
farm sheds, the racked scythes, flails, sickles, and husk- 
ing knives awaited the harvesters. At the mill on Fish 
Creek the stones were in place, lacking only the mill- 
er's hand on the gear-lever, and that of his assistant 
to open the hopper-gate. 

On 14 September, soldier-farmers worked through- 
out the long day to reap Philip Schuyler's harvest. 
Threshers and winnowers toiled on the threshing- 
floor. While the sergeant-miller filled sacks with 
bread flour, huskers shucked ears of maize for the 
poor hungry horses of the army's train. 

The newly commissioned officer of the 24th Foot 
found the picquet guard that night a vantage point 
for reflection. In the course of a single day Lieutenant 
Anburey had witnessed the pillaging of a rich and 
prosperous estate. From his place in the first surge 


of a victorious advancing army he could view philo- 
sophically the devastation "attendant on war." But 
Anburey, the young gentleman from London, during 
that day of harvest had ignored, or had not seen, that 
quarter of the plantation where the wheat lay 
scorched by fire. The night now hid the blackened 
acre where, with the torch of resistance in her own 
hand, Kitty Schuyler had tried to burn her home and 
the yield of her husband's land. 

On the morning of 15 September, the close ranks 
of the German contingent crossed to the west bank 
of the Hudson. After diem came the gun park in re- 
serve, guarded by the 47th Foot. Baron Riedesel did 
not see his baroness that day, though he was told 
that her big calash had come safely across the river 
with the baggage wagons before the floating bridge 
was broken into its component parts. It would be 
floated downstream with the store bateaux and would 
keep pace with the army. 

At Saratoga the German general took his division's 
station along the river road, on the left of the British. 
Smartly, he deployed a regiment to his right, to make 
contact with the left of Hamilton's British division. 
On the rising land further to the right, Eraser's corps 
had the responsibility of the army's open flank, resting 
in the woods. While he made secure his own position 
in the battle line, Riedesel learned that Burgoyne 
himself, with General Phillips and General Fraser, 
had taken forward two thousand men and four can- 
non on a reconnaissance of the roads and clearings 
that lay ahead toward the enemy. 


Johnny Burgoyne was out all day, and evening 
found him two miles in front of the main position. 
The woods were quiet, the cabins deserted. Almost 
gaily, Burgoyne called up Captain Thomas Jones and 
ordered him to fire the evening gun for the army then 
and there, to give the illusion of its being well 
forward of where, in fact, it was. Captain Jones stood 
quietly behind the unlimbered piece. He was a vet- 
eran of Benedict Arnold's night attack on Quebec. 
When the gun was reported ready, Jones nodded his 
consent to fire. The report was still echoing through 
the woods, and the gunners were still stamping out 
the little fires, started among the dry autumn leaves 
by the muzzle blast, when Jones gave the order to 
limber up and follow back to camp. 

Another officer who had been at Quebec in the 
swirling snow of New Year's, 1776, heard Burgoyne's 
evening gun. He was Daniel Morgan, the rifleman 
leader, whom George Washington had sent north 
with his corps in August to bolster the northern army 
of the Americans. On the evening of 15 September 
Morgan was commanding an escort of his riflemen 
back to the American lines. They had been out all 
day with Horatio Gates, who like Burgoyne 
was making a personal reconnaissance toward the 

In taking over from Philip Schuyler the command 
of the northern department, General Gates took onto 
his own sloping shoulders the full responsibility for 
stopping Burgoyne's march to Albany. In his head, 


behind the wizened, bespectacled face of an old 
grandfather, must be found the plan to halt the Brit- 
ish invasion from Canada before it made a junction 
with Sir Henry Clinton's forces. To this enormous 
challenge to the new nation and to his own reputa- 
tion, Gates brought a supreme self-confidence in his 
own ability. He was sure of his method: the painstak- 
ing staff system he had learned and mastered as an 
ambitious British officer. He had proved the efficacy 
of this method in 1776, when on this same northern 
frontier in the short space of a summer he had halted 
an American retreat at Ticonderoga, rebuilt a beaten 
army into a proud force, created an American fleet 
on Lake Champlain, and had erected a strong de- 
fensive position out of the old French fort at Ticon- 
deroga, while extending the fortress system across the 
lake to Mount Independence. 

Gates's strategic plan for the campaign of 1776 had 
proved out. By forcing a naval race on the British, 
he had left no time for General Carleton and General 
Burgoyne to try the defenses at Ticonderoga. But for 
Horatio Gates himself this successful campaign had 
been a disappointment. He had been forced to share 
credit for the victory with Philip Schuyler, nominal 
commander of the northern department of the army. 
Even the accolade of fame had eluded General Gates, 
snatched from him by his erratic brigadier Benedict 
Arnold. In directing disobedience of Gates's orders, 
Arnold had fought a dazzling naval battle to climax 
the summer campaign. In this battle the American 
fleet had been defeated and for the purpose of any 


subsequent campaign had been destroyed, but it 
was Arnold's strange genius that he emerged as the 
hero o the battle and the undoubted victor on Lake 

In 1777 General Gates had to repeat the campaign 
of the previous year, but with a difference which to 
some degree compensated for the short space of time 
remaining to him in which to accomplish his ends. 
By 19 August 1777, when Gates took up his position 
of command behind the headquarters desk, the Amer- 
ican army already had been rebuilt. No one was more 
aware of this than Gates's adjutant general, James 
Wilkinson. In two years of war Wilkinson had ingrati- 
ated himself into the favor of three successive gen- 
erals Brigadier General Arnold, Major General St. 
Clair, and the army commander, General Gates 
with such success that he now stood before Horatio 
Gates's desk, at twenty years of age, an adjutant gen- 
eral and a lieutenant colonel. It was as aide-de-camp 
to Arthur St, Clair that the young officer had endured 
the night escape under Burgoyne's guns on Sugar 
Loaf. From his position close to the general, Wil- 
kinson knew that, of the two thousand Continen- 
tals at Fort Ticonderoga on 5 July, many had been 
casualties at the Battle of Hubbardton. He himself 
had been a casualty of the attrition that accompanies 
a retreat, but had turned up again on the strength 
of the newly reconstituted northern department, in a 
position to ride with an ascending star. The muster 
rolls which, Wilkinson, as adjutant general, showed 
to Horatio Gates at the end of the third week of 


August put the strength of the American northern 
army at six thousand men Continentals and effec- 
tive militia. 

Only four thousand, however, faced Burgoyne 
along Schuyler's last defensive line at the mouth of 
the Mohawk River. Benedict Arnold, now a major 
general, was with Learned's brigade, successfully 
turning back St. Leger's threat on Albany from the 
west. He would not return with his men until the 
first week in September. Benjamin Lincoln was to the 
east, where, since the Battle of Bennington, he had 
been organizing a strike at Burgoyne's rear, and try- 
ing to persuade John Stark to join Gates's army or, 
failing that, to move in closer onto Burgoyne's flank. 
Stark would do neither, preferring, as was his right, 
to sit out the expiring short-term enlistment of his 
brigade on its victorious battleground. Later, if the 
spirit moved him, Stark would take his own oppor- 
tunity to strike a blow at Burgoyne. 

On the way, but not yet arrived on the Mohawk 
River, was Colonel Daniel Morgan's hardy regiment 
of Continental riflemen. Gates knew Morgan from 
Washington's winter camp in New Jersey, and from 
the early days of the Revolution when, as Washing- 
ton s adjutant general, he had assigned the riflemen 
to Benedict Arnold's force against Quebec. Gates 
now had to fumble in his memory for a picture of a 
nineteen-year-old wagoner named Morgan, who had 
shared with him the disaster of Braddock's defeat. 
In the mess gossip of the old war there had been 
the incredible story of the provincial who, quite 


justly, received five hundred lashes for daring to 
strike back at a British officer who was chastising 
him. The provincial had been the same Daniel Mor- 
gan whom Gates now eagerly awaited to round out 
his northern army. Morgan was a broad-shouldered, 
deep-chested man, who carried the welts and stripes 
of his flogging under the hunting shirt he habitually 
wore as uniform. His face was scarred by an Indian 
arrow which had penetrated into his mouth, to leave 
its mark on Morgan's naturally slurred, soft Virginia 
speech. To carry his orders to his scattered regiment, 
Morgan used a wild turkey call which became the 
pride and spirit of his regiment of rifle-armed marks- 

Morgan's arrival on the Mohawk with but three 
hundred and thirty-one of his men was a disappoint- 
ment to Gates. The remaining one hundred and sixty- 
nine of the expected five hundred were sick. To 
bolster the riflemen, whom Gates proposed to keep 
under his own direct command as an advance corps, 
Major Henry Dearborn, with two hundred picked 
light infantrymen, went under Colonel Morgan's 
command. Like Morgan, Dearborn had made the 
overland march to Quebec, so when Arnold returned 
from Stanwix he found in Horatio Gates's army two 
aggressive troop commanders waiting to greet him. 

With six thousand reliable troops, Gates was an 
even match for Burgoyne's regulars. But in the valley 
of the upper Hudson there was no fort such as Ticon- 
deroga on which Gates could build his defense and 
thus gain the advantage. From his scouts and civilian 


spies he knew that Burgoyne's supplies were limited, 
and that the cold mornings of a northern September 
would force his British opponent to move on to his 
objective of Albany, if only for use of that city as 
winter quarters. Gates, who was a patient, calculat- 
ing officer, saw his advantage and success in field 
works, at which the Americans were adept, and 
against which the British must wear themselves away. 

With Schuyler's northern department General 
Gates had inherited a serious-minded Polish military 
engineer of proven competence, Thaddeus Kosciusko. 
Before the American army had fallen back to the 
Mohawk River, Kosciusko had run his lines and 
driven the stakes for a defense at Stillwater. On 8 
September, Gates's army set itself to the eleven-mile 
march to Stillwater. With their muskets, the men 
carried shovels and picks. Their step was light and 
gay as at long last they advanced against the 
brutal "macaroni," Burgoyne of the bloody hatchet. 
They cheered the elderly General Gates as he rode 
along the line of march, and shouted their approval 
to the bearded rifleman of Dan Morgan's corps, stand- 
ing under a pine tree and exhibiting to all who passed 
the scalp of an Indian that he had taken only the day 

At Stillwater the Americans grounded their arms 
and stood about with their tools in their hands, wait- 
ting to be told where to begin their digging. But 
Gates had gone on ahead with his Polish engineer, 
his staff, and his escort, in search of another place to 
build his fortifications. At Stillwater the river bank 


was so wide and gently sloping, and the cleared fields 
so extensive, as to favor Burgoyne's strong comple- 
ment of well-served cannon, and to invite the ter- 
rible omnipotence of a disciplined bayonet charge 
by trained European troops. On 12 September, the 
American army moved three miles closer to the 
enemy, onto the ground which they would fortify, 
and where they would make their stand. 

On a narrow strip of flat land between the river 
and the hills rolling up to the western forest, a man 
named Bemis had built a tavern at the juncture of 
two roads. The main road followed closely along the 
west bank of the river, pressed there by a parallel 
series of high, moundlike hills, cut through by a 
maze of deep gullies. A road on the left climbed 
steeply from the river to John Neilson's farm on 
Beinis Heights. Half a mile before coming to the 
Neilson house, the road forked again, the western 
track ambling oflf through the woods, the north road 
passing the farmer's house and barn and skirting the 
high land between the gorges, to Freeman's farm. A 
complex of cart tracks cut through the gullies and ran 
over the hills from Freeman's farm to the Hudson 
River. North of the farm there was a wide depression, 
known as the Great Ravine. A road, coming up from 
the river bank, lay along the north edge of the Great 
Ravine and joined the Neilson-Freeman road half a 
mile beyond the latter farm. 

Horatio Gates had come to his battlefield. Planning 
carefully, Gates projected the course of the defensive 
battle he expected to force on General Burgoyne. 


Field works of earth, faced with logs, would be 
thrown up in depth across the narrow river plain 
where it defiled at Bemis's tavern. Other field works 
would rise on the eastern slopes of Bemis Heights, 
enfilading the river road which, being the only good 
road from the north, must inevitably be the center 
line of Burgoyne's advance with his baggage train 
and gun park. American cannon placed in the works 
could deny the river to the British boats. Standing 
on the heights with his engineer, Gates traced out 
additional fortifications, following the contour of the 
land away from the river to Neilson's big barn. This 
barn he fortified, before turning the lines once again 
to form a three-sided box facing north, with its 
strength dominating the river plain. 

From the high ground at Fort Neilson, Gates 
looked down across open ground to the ravine-cut 
woods and hills cruel country through which to 
advance. Again, Gates's British-trained eye wandered 
off toward the river road, where he had set Nixon's, 
Glover's, and Paterson's brigades to digging. Here, 
behind their field works, Gates felt confident that his 
Continentals could hold the main advance of Euro- 
pean regulars. On either side of Fort Neilson (as 
the barn was now referred to), Brigadier Generals 
Learned and Poor, whose men formed the division 
under Arnold, dug in to guard against the approach 
of a flanking column coming in from the scattered 
clearings around the Freeman farm. 

As General Gates had anchored his right on the 
Hudson, so his left was firmly tied to the barrier of 


the impenetrable woods, fit only to be a playground 
for wolves and bears and catamounts, and for Gates's 
own wild riflemen. Into tins dark region Gates found 
himself led on 15 September. There was much work 
yet to be done on the lines, and at headquarters his 
desk was piled high with letters and papers re- 
quiring his attention. As he rode along the trail 
beyond Freeman's farm, with Morgan padding on 
moccasined feet beside his stirrup, the crafty Ameri- 
can general had many things to think about and 
many decisions to make. All along the line of field 
works the engineers needed his prodding; a mass of 
reports and orders awaited his signature. The militia, 
goaded by Lincoln and stirred by the murder of 
Jane McCrea, were beginning to come in, eager to 
fight but without supplies or any plan of action. 
Then, there was the correspondence with the haughty 
Sir John Burgoyne, and this Gates relished. Burgoyne 
had written to him, under a flag of truce, complain- 
ing of the treatment of Tory prisoners after the Battle 
of Bennington. Gates had replied to "The Famous 
Lieutenant General, the Fine Gentleman . . . the 
Soldier and the Scholar,** with a taunt for every scalp 
taken by an Indian in the pay of the British, and a 
sneer for the murderer of Jane McCrea. Perhaps, 
while he was in the woods with Dan Morgan, an- 
other letter would have arrived from Burgoyne. 

As the afternoon wore on, Gates, too long away 
from his headquarters, gave the order to turn back. 
Morgan spluttered into his turkey call, and the scouts 
came in and silently fell into line behind their colonel. 


Then, over the tree-tops to the north, came the 
hollow boom of Burgoyne's evening gun. The two 
officers, who had been together in the woods at Brad- 
dock's defeat, stopped to listen. In the stillness that 
followed, they quickly made their way back to the 
fortified American camp Gates to his tent, Morgan 
to detail the night's offensive patrols. 


To the Sound of the Guns 

For six days Burgoyne's army crawled southward 
down the west bank of the Hudson. Moving, as it 
did, in a tight little enclave, it was confident. The 
main body of the troops did not feel the presence of 
the enemy. The army lived and moved as much unto 
itself as did the porcupine it met along the road, 
which, when prodded with a musket, lashed out and 
then, with quills raised and head down, moved on in 
the direction it had been going. 

The army was indignant and affronted, therefore, 
rather than apprehensive when an unarmed party 
digging potatoes from an abandoned patch was am- 
bushed by Yankees, who killed or wounded thirteen 

The whole army knew by morning, and talked all 
day, of the fire that destroyed the Aclands* tent, on 
the campground of the advance corps. Everyone 
sympathized with the gentle Lady Harriet over her 
loss, and the officers expressed their admiration for 
the gallant major, who, not knowing that his preg- 
nant wife had managed to escape, rushed back into 



the burning marquee to rescue her. The soldiers con- 
gratulated the Aclands* servant for having pulled the 
major out by the ankles, offered him a pipe of 
tobacco, and joked with him about his not having 
been sure whose ankle he had grasped! Though 
clothing of any land was scarce, and the officers had 
brought no warm clothes with them below Skenes- 
borough, somehow the Acknds were outfitted, and 
the major, his head and hands swathed in wet band- 
ages to soothe his burns, marched out with the grena- 
diers on 17 September. 

Headquarters was made that night at Sword's 
house, two miles north of Semis's tavern, and re- 
mained there all the following day, while the supply 
train came down by road and river, bringing the 
hospital with it. Burgoyne found it necessary to keep 
with the army the sick and wounded and the con- 
valescent. To leave them in the comfortable houses 
and barns at Saratoga was to give them over to 
pillage and reprisal at the hands of the irregular 
Yankee "cowboys/* whom Captain Fraser and the 
fifty Iroquois Indians now with the expedition re- 
ported as prowling and scavenging close behind the 
army. To leave a hospital behind meant leaving be- 
hind surgeons and mates to tend the patients, and 
Burgoyne could not spare this skilled personnel. 

Heavy casualties could be expected when the Brit- 
ish army butted through the American defense line 
which, Burgoyne's intelligence informed him, was 
building at Stillwater, three miles beyond the defile 
at Bemis's tavern. The Yankees, harassing the British 
front and flank in the woods, already had been iden- 


tified as Morgan's men, and there were those in Bur- 
goyne's army who regretted that prisoner-of-war 
Morgan had scorned the colonelcy offered to him in 
Quebec by General Carleton. Others of Burgoyne's 
officers corps had known Gates before he turned his 
coat from red to blue. Burgoyne himself had seen 
Arnold through his spyglasses from the deck of His 
Majesty's schooner, the Lady Maria. On 13 October 
1776, the Yankee general-commodore had appeared 
as a wild, whooping figure under a red-and-white 
gridiron flag, laying the long stern-gun of his galley, 
the Congress, on any British ship that drew too near. 
Burgoyne expected to meet Benedict Arnold again 
in the autumn of 1777. 

At dawn on 19 September, Burgoyne's artillery 
prepared to move out with the army on its day's 
march toward an enemy still indistinct. A thick, pale 
thin mist of autumn hung over the river bank, making 
strange shapes of the gun teams. Drivers were poking 
about in the boxes of the troop carts and in 

tion boxes, in search of hidden ears of corn with 
which to coax a little moire snatch and haul out of 
their tired animals during the day's work that lay 
ahead. Men and horses, both blanketed against the 
cold of the night that persisted into the new day, 
moved slowly in the heavy mist. Not until the sun 
rose high enough to burn away the mist, and, like a 
bold picquet, drive off the scouting cold of the ap- 
proaching winter, would the army march off toward 

At his tent in the army headquarters area, Major 


Griffith Williams, commander of Artillery, awaited 
the arrival of his breakfast and of his gunner cap- 
tains. One by one, the latter emerged from the mist, 
slouching or moving briskly according to each in- 
dividual's mood of the morning: Pausch, the Ger- 
man, in his big cloak, all military; Thomas Jones, 
glancing impatiently at Pausch, whom he could not 
understand and of whom, as befitted a Welshman, 
he was suspicious; Ellis Walker, who had taken the 
12-pounder up Mount Defiance; and finally, John 
Carter, who had commanded the gunboats on the 
dash up to Skenesborough, and who was now in com- 
mand of the gun park which followed the regiments. 

Of these captains, each of the first three com- 
manded the guns attached to a column of Burgoyne's 
advance. Pausch was going with Riedesel's German 
wing of the army, following the river road. Walker 
had under command six Royal Artillery guns and 
two of the Hesse-Hanau gunners. He marched with 
Eraser's corps, to which had been attached Brey- 
mann's grenadiers. His would be the longest march, 
following the road westward along the north side of 
the Great Ravine to Freeman's farm, to protect the 
right flank. Captain Jones was in support of Brigadier 
Hamilton's British brigade, which would follow after 
Fraser but would turn off by a track which led more 
directly through the Great Ravine to Freeman's farm, 
and the road to Neilson's barn on Bemis Heights. 

Before the artillery orders group broke up, Gen- 
eral Phillips, a gunner all his life, joined these 
kindred souls. Since August, as second in command 


of the expedition, lie had taken direct command of 
all supplies, and in that capacity he would follow 
Riedesel along the river road on the march of 19 
September. From that position, he could best judge 
the moment to call up Captain Carter's reserve of 
guns when, as was expected, the German wing met 
the main line of rebel resistance and their strongest 
fortifications on the flat river plain. General Bur- 
goyne himself would command the center, with 
which he intended to turn the Yankee left. 

The sun showed as an orange disc through the 
mist before the captains returned to their batteries 
of guns, and Major Williams's servant dared to an- 
nounce the morning meal. It was ten o'clock before 
the three columns of the British army moved out 
Pausch, riding with his lead section of guns, had a 
fair view across the Hudson and the flat plain be- 
yond. Riedesel's column had halted while the leading 
regiment of infantry patched a section of the road 
that led through the swamp to a bridge, also in need 
of repair. As the Hessian captain looked across the 
river, a flash of sunlight showed on the crest of a 
tree-covered mountain humped up into the sky. The 
flash showed again. It was the glint of sunlight on 
polished metal a basin, perhaps, or even a mirror 
as though a Yankee militiaman were shaving. 
When once more the German column was halted, 
to repair another bridge destroyed by the retreating 
Americans, again the flash of light could be seen on 
the distant mountain. Pausch and Riedesel knew it 
now for what it was: heliograph signals from Ameri- 


can scouts to the American commander somewhere 
up ahead. From the urgency of the flashing, the 
rebels could not be far away. 

The bridges having been repaired, the German 
division had come to a long stretch of straight road 
and was stepping out smartly to the music of the 
bands. Shortly after one o'clock the German column 
halted again, and the jangle of harness and the 
rumble of wheels on the bridge planking was stilled. 
Pausch could hear the sound of distant musket fire, 
inland away from the river, where he judged that 
Eraser's column, with Colonel Breymann, would be 
turning into the road parallel to the one he himself 
was following. Almost at once, one of the baron's 
aides appeared, requesting that two camion be sent 

Pausch himself took the two leading guns, each 
with its ammunition tumbrils and carts of tools, and 
pressed forward. The infantry fell away to the sides 
of the road to let him pass. Near the head of the 
column, Riedesel's aide led Pausch into a narrow 
side road and up a small hill onto a flat table-land, 
where he found Riedesel looking toward the west. 
The sound of firing was crisp. 

An aide quickly appraised Captain Pausch as to 
the disposition General Riedesel had made of his 
division. Two German battalions were deployed along 
the original line of march, with two companies of 
Rhetz's regiment pushed a little forward, to occupy 
a small hill dominating the river road. In moving up 
onto the pkteau and calling for two guns, not only 


had the baron rounded out the German position but 
had placed himself in readiness, if called upon, to go 
to the aid of the British. As Pausch could see, 
Riedesel's relief force was made up of the general's 
own regiment, together with the two remaining com- 
panies of Rhetz. The men were sitting on the grass, 
not at ease in the companionable relaxation of a 
halt on the march, but very calmly, their muskets 
in their hands, waiting. These men had been in North 
America for two campaigns without coming face to 
face with the enemy. 

Now the firing in the west seemed to be drawing 
nearer. The tableau of officers, gathered around their 
general yet apart from him, heard the volley fire that 
marked the change of position of the British line to 
its rear, while the Yankee fire, loose and indiscrim- 
inate surged up into a frenzy. The cannon, too, fell 
silent as the German officers looked to each other for 
confirmation as to the implication of a British retreat. 

General Riedesel turned quickly to his command- 
ers, gave them the order to advance, and without 
further delay, set out along the track across the 
plateau toward the sound of musketry. The infantry 
scrambled to their feet. Pausch found his artillery 
train restless and eager, the horses sidling and tossing 
their heads before the drivers could get them to 
lunge into their collars. 

Across the plateau, where the road dipped down 
into a ravine, Eiedesel halted his column. While the 
infantry deployed into a defensive position, Pausch 
sighted his guns, ordering his gunners out to throw 


down a rail fence which offered cover for the "Yan- 
kee" riflemen. Patrols of three and four men each 
were sent out to locate the enemy, and when Pausch 
rode up to report his guns in position, he found 
Riedesel instructing his aide, Captain Geismar, to 
ride to Burgoyne with word that he, Riedesel, was in 
position and ready to assist. Quietly, Pausch ordered 
his wagonmaster, who was well mounted, to follow 
Geismar and to find the best possible traverse of the 
gully for the guns and carts of the train. 

So General RiedeseFs relief force waited out the 
afternoon, while the noise of battle thundered less 
than a mile in the distance. 

Beyond the spot where Captain Pausch marked 
the course of battle by the sound of Captain Jones's 
6-pounders, and on the other side of the gunsmoke 
that trailed lazily above the tree-tops, Captain 
Walker's brigade of guns was silent. There was no 
field of fire in the thick woods, where General Fraser 
had put his corps into a defensive position on a 
height of land half a mile to the west and north 
of the embattled British center. Fraser had taken up 
his position soon after hearing the first fire. The 
height appeared to him as the key to the right wing 
of the whole advance; from it he could also counter- 
attack into the flank of the Americans attempting to 
turn the British center. Already, at the very first fire, 
Fraser had sent a reinforcement of two companies 
of the 24th to assist the center. 

Lieutenant Thomas Anburey found himself at the 


rear of his company, jogging down the forest road 
toward the sound of musket fire. With his left hand 
he held his sword scabbard free of the ground. In 
front of him were the backs of his men, their muskets 
held high at the port; the empty bayonet scabbards, 
bullet pouches, and barrel-like water bottles bobbed 
in unison at their hips. Close behind him, the lead 
team of Lieutenant Dunbar's gun pressed closer. 
Anburey half turned as he ran, shouting at the driver 
to keep his distance. The driver's arm was raised, as 
was Dunbar's, in a signal to halt. As the lieutenant 
ran into his own rear rank, he heard rifle fire to the 
front, answered by a volley from the leading com- 
pany of the 24th. The commander of Anburey's own 
company already had given the order to form on the 
right. Now the company was advancing in a scythe- 
like sweep to the right. A brown figure seemed to flit, 
sparrow-like, between two bushes. Anburey thought 
it one of the Mohawks, then realized that what he 
had seen was a Yankee rifleman. Some of the men 
were firing their muskets at the brown people they 
saw moving away. Officers and sergeants were curs- 
ing the nervousness of their men. Anburey saw his first 
man killed in action, and with all the incomprehen- 
sion of a soldier at his first battle, he thought it odd 
that his friend, Lieutenant John Don, should leap so 
high in the air, then fall in a heap to the ground. 

Bursting through a screen of red-gold leaves, Lieu- 
tenant Anburey came upon a strange sight. On the 
ground sat a Yankee rifleman, calmly paying out 
paper money from a bkck leather wallet to a soldier 


Anburey recognized as General Eraser's batman. Both 
men were smiling. On seeing the lieutenant the Yan- 
kee stopped for a moment to explain that the batman 
not only had saved him from capture by the Indians 
but had managed to retrieve his wallet, containing 
(among other things) his commission. Politely, the 
American introduced himself as Captain Van Swear- 
ingham of Morgan's Riflemen and a prisoner, of 
course, of the lieutenant of the 24th. 

Quiet had come over that part of the battleground 
on which Anburey and his prisoner stood. Dunbar 
came sauntering up and joined them. When Anburey's 
servant found them he had the lieutenant's flask, 
from which, as they talked, each of the three officers 
drank in turn. While Van Swearingham was promis- 
ing the two Englishmen much more business** be- 
fore the day was over, heavy firing again broke out 
in front of the picquet of the advance corps. Dunbar 
ran off to rejoin his gun, and Anburey, too, hurried 
to where his men waited in rank. The Yankee captain 
watched them go; then, with his escort, he set out 
for the rear. If he was recaptured, as he might well 
be, for the woods were saturated with Morgan's men, 
he would get back his long brown rifle with its carved 
patch-box cover that he loved so well. The British 
soldier carried it in his left hand, behind the point 
of balance, and Van Swearingham feared that he 
would ram the lips of the muzzle into the rough 
forest floor. 

It was Major Gordon Forbes of the 9th Foot, who, 
with the picquet of Burgoyne's center column of the 


British army, early that afternoon made the first con- 
tact with Colonel Morgan's Riflemen. The four regi- 
ments of British regulars, with Jones's brigade of 
guns, had entered the gully during the morning, 
crossed the millstream on a bridge which they found 
to be intact, then climbed up to high ground. There, 
with advance sentries out, the regiment had waited 
for an hour, to give Fraser time to march the wide 
circle around, and to come on to the right flank of 
the army. 

About one o'clock, Burgoyne ordered the three- 
minute guns fired as a signal to Riedesel and Fraser, 
and so began the advance. Coming out of the woods, 
Major Forbes deployed his hundred men for the ad- 
vance on the Freeman farmhouse. Immediately he 
came under aimed rifle fire from his objective. He 
ignored this, as his men were behaving well and ad- 
vancing steadily and without undue haste. They 
^cleared the farmhouse in a rush. Then, as they were 
being fired upon from a railfence over to the west, 
they changed direction and continued their charge, 
which carried the fence line. Forbes followed the flee- 
ing riflemen into the woods, where, among the pines, 
the American resistance stiffened. Rifles seemed to 
crack from every direction, and the major felt him- 
self stung by a ball. The men began looking around 
to see how their friends were faring, and Major 
.Forbes knew that soon they would begin to huddle. 
He saw one man standing free, aiming his musket 
toward the tree-tops. He opened his mouth to shout 
at the man, to bring him to his senses, but saw just 
:in time a puff of smoke high in a maple tree. 


Though he could not see the enemy he realized there 
were riflemen in the trees as well as on the ground. 
Reluctantly, the major gave the order to retire. He 
was hit again before he regained the open pasture 
land, where a regiment (probably the 20th) was 
forming into line. To his horror, he saw the men of 
the front rank leveling to fire. He ran toward them, 
shouting, but too late to stop the first ragged volley, 
which added yet more wounded to the casualty list 
of his already sorely tried picquet. 

Mounted on his horse directing the deployment, 
Colonel Robert Kingston saw the nervous regiment 
fire into the returning picquet. He ordered a gun 
to be fired. Its booming roar shook the men into 
control, and the sergeants and two young officers 
steadied down to their work of getting the lines 
dressed, preparatory to advancing across the wide 
home pasture of Freeman's farm. 


Action Front! 

Gone were the farmer's bullocks, which had plowed 
the upper fields. Gone was the team o horses, which 
had cropped short the summer grass along the rail 
fence. The log barns behind Freeman's farmhouse 
were empty of stock. Where the ground fell away to 
the east at the far side of the farmyard, the edge of 
a cornfield spreading up out of the gully marked 
the brow of the hilltop clearing. The row of tall 
stacks seemed to be watching the lines of red-coated 
infantry, spreading, weed-like, over the northern end 
of the home meadow. 

Quickly, the long line of Englishmen formed up, 
as more and more files of companies marched out 
of the woods. There was a moment when a little band 
of Jagers in their green coats ran out between the 
companies to dash for the protection of a ditch, 
where their short-rifled pieces could answer the 
desultory fire of Yankee riflemen. But for the odd rifle 
shot, all was quiet at Freeman's farm until the drums 
began to beat. 

Fifty gaily coated drummers stood behind their 



regiments; at the ready, slim backs arched stiffly, 
young eyes wide. At an order, a hundred drumsticks 
fell to rattling out the insistent beat of the long roll, 
then fell silent. All up and down the three regimental 
fronts, colonels and captains shouted the traditional 
orders and ran to take their places in the line of 
British infantry before the drums began to beat 
again. With the one first step of fate, the whole long 
line advanced to the slow, measured tap to which 
the tramping men could set down their feet with 

Close behind the infantry, forty-eight gunners took 
up the slack on drag-ropes, and as the heavy trails 
cleared the ground, the gun sergeants, leaning on the 
muzzles as counter-weights, gave the order to march. 
Four guns moved out after the infantry, two in the 
gap between the 9th and the 21st, and two more to 
the left, where the 20th and Anstruther's 62nd con- 
tinued the line. Further back, four ammunition tum- 
brils followed, their drivers leading the plodding 
dray horses. 

General John Burgoyne sat easily in his saddle, 
Colonel Kingston at his elbow. A horse, stirred by the 
drumbeats, danced out of the group of staff officers 
and division couriers standing near the general. The 
rider, a French-speaking Brunswick officer from the 
German wing, pulled his beast around and slipped 
back into the group. Gentleman Johnny edged his 
mount into a walk as the long red line of infantry 
passed the little farmhouse. The line crossed the 
ditch where the Jdgers lay. The gun crews of each 


two-gun battery combined efforts to worry their 
pieces across the ditch, then hurried to catch up 
with the drums, bobbing on the thighs of the drum- 
mers as they strode behind the companies. The Yan- 
kees were firing from the woods, and here and there 
a red-coated figure fell heavily to the grass. Lieu- 
tenant Hadden ran ahead and dragged a wounded 
private from the path of an oncoming gun. 

At the two log barns, the British line halted. In 
the face of the rebel fire, they could not go on 
without support. Volley fire by platoon skipped up 
and down from the British ranks. It drove the Ameri- 
cans back from the edge of the wood, while the guns 
were being wheeled into place. With the help of 
Lieutenant Reid, Captain Jones set up his piece in 
the space between die 9th and the 21st, with his 
field of fire to the left, in front of the latter regiment. 
Lieutenant Hadden stationed his two pieces to cover 
the wood and to shoot into the cornfield. To his right 
six companies of the 62nd faced the wood; to his left 
two companies angled back, facing the gully. 

For two long hours Hadden fired his guns. Some- 
times his canister shot tore through the tall stand of 
corn, cutting the stalks through which the enemy 
tried to infiltrate around the 62nd. Sometimes Lieu- 
tenant Hadden fired round shot and canister into the 
woods, and the balls ricocheted off the tree trunks 
into the branches above. The canister was meant for 
the Yankee regiments forming up under the trees, 
preparing for a charge. 

From the point where he commanded the battle 


Burgoyne saw four rebel attacks form up, start off, 
then turn back before the volleys of his line of 
regulars. Unlike the Yankees who had begun the 
battle, these were uniformed Continentals. Most of 
the rifle fire was to Burgoyne's right, where Fraser, 
too, was holding his ground. Now the familiar crack 
of the long American rifle came seldom from in front 
of the 62nd and the 21st. When it was heard, it 
usually meant that a British officer was hit, or that 
another gunner had fallen away from his gun. As the 
smoke drifted off enough to afford a clear view, the 
Yankee marksmen tried for General Burgoyne. When, 
at extreme range, they toppled a big officer from his 
handsome mount in front of the staff group, the Yan- 
kees cheered the supposed fall of the scalp-buying 
British general. But the young dandy who stopped 
Burgoyne's bullet was Captain Charles Green, aide 
to General Phillips. 

On hearing the sound of the firing, Phillips, who 
had been riding with Baron Riedesel's wing, had 
ridden hard to the sound of the guns. With the eye 
and mind of a veteran gunner, he had paused on his 
way to Burgoyne to order the 20th (which he found 
waiting in the gully) to protect the flank of the 62nd 
by occupying the woods and the cornfield. He also 
took time to send a man galloping on horseback to 
Major Williams with the request that four guns from 
the park be dispatched at once. Captain Green had 
been sent on ahead, to appraise General Burgoyne 
of what he had done and to tell his general he was 
coining. As the gunner general put his foaming 


charger to the hill out of the gully, he met his hand- 
some aide, borne on a litter by four officers' servants. 
The captain was but one of a long line of wounded, 
drifting down off the higher land like autumn leaves 
shaken from a tree-top by a gust of wind. All sought 
shelter in the gully, where the doctors worked by 
the bank of a little stream, and chaplains moved 
among the men. There a host of wagoners, smiths, 
armorers, wheelwrights, servants, and busy noncom- 
batants looked anxiously to where Squire Freeman 
once had farmed. 

The gale of battle beat most furiously on the 
corner where Hadden's guns stood with the ranks of 
the desperately fighting 62nd. The gunner lieutenant 
was now working as a gun number. With but four 
men to load the guns, he himself was laying and 
firing each of his two guns in succession. Eighteen of 
his artillerymen were dead or gone back wounded; 
one of his three men had been hit, and even as 
Hadden looked at him to appraise his strength, the 
man slipped down beside a gunwheel, tried again 
to rise, then sank back, exhausted. 

His guns unmanned and helpless, Hadden ran 
back to where Brigadier Hamilton stood encourag- 
ing Colonel Anstruther, to beg for some infantry- 
men to pass ammunition and keep the guns firing. 
He reached politely for his cap; as he prepared to 
doff it to the general, a rifleman's bullet snatched it 
from his hand. He left it unheeded on the ground, as 
he pleaded with the senior officer for men for the 
guns his guns! But Anstruther and Hamilton were 


organizing a charge, and they needed every bayonet. 
Blinded with the rage of frustration, Hadden turned 
and ran stumbling to the barn where Burgoyne, dis- 
mounted now, had moved up to take even closer 
control of his battle. General Phillips was there, and 
Captain Jones, too, and to them he repeated his plea 
for gunners. With the consent of Phillips, Jones 
promised men from the two other guns of the bri- 
gade, and immediately ran off to fetch them. Content 
for the moment, Hadden stopped to look around him. 
The 9th Foot, who had not been heavily engaged^ 
were flying back across the ditch to take up a reserve 
position at the farmhouse. The 21st was standing 
firm. One of Hadderfs gunners was sprawled on the 
ground in the lee of the log barn; he was one of the 
men Hadden had left wounded; now he lay dead. 
Exposed in the open space between the two barns, 
seemingly unconcerned by the danger, Gentleman 
Johnny was in earnest consultation with Captain 
Willoe of RiedeseFs staff, whom the general held 
tightly by the arm, as if holding back the younger 
man. When the German ran quickly to his horse, 
mounted, and gave the beast spur into a bounding 
gallop, Hadden returned to his guns. 

He arrived as the 62nd, shouting hoarsely in 
the throat-stinging smoke of battle, launched their 
charge. Alone with his guns, Lieutenant Hadden 
watched them go. The men and officers were hurry- 
ing toward the woods, where smoke puffs blossomed 
at the roots of the tall trees. Behind the line of sol- 
diers stumbled the little drummer-boys in their buff 


coats, the big drums flapping as the boys tried to 
hurry. Hadden laughed at the ragged beat the run- 
ning boys were fumbling out of their jouncing drums. 
It seemed funny that the regiment marched steadily 
on, oblivious to the step the drums were striving so 
manfully to give them. 

At the forest edge, the attack of the 62nd wavered. 
Like shy suitors at a lady's door, the regiment hesi- 
tated to enter. From further back in the hollowness 
of the woods American musket fire, controlled and 
telling, rumbled out an invitation to the infantry to 
come on. Instead, the 62nd fell back, firing volleys 
as they went. Red-coated dead now dotted the field 
in front of Hadden's two 6-pounders. Captain Jones 
shouted in his ear, and Hadden, the spell of awe 
broken, turned to his guns with new determination. 
He had seen infantry, cloaked only in tradition, dis- 
cipline, and honor, walk up to naked death. 

While Anstruther and his officers strove to reform 
the battle line, the guns fired and loaded and fired 
again. The rebel fire along the whole front turned on 
the two guns, still unsupported by the disorganized 
62nd. One by one, the new gunners dropped. Cap- 
tain Jones was down, clutching at his abdomen, his 
face tight with pain. Lieutenant Reid's right arm 
dangled helplessly from a stained blue sleeve. Had- 
den sent him to the rear, carrying as best he could 
the linstock from the now silent number-two gun. 
It was time to bring off the guns, but, before this 
could be effected, the 62nd gave way. Alone, bleed- 
ing from a slight wound, Hadden could stand no 


longer. Carrying his captain, somehow lie reached 
the nearer o the two barns. The building was 
crowded with the badly wounded, lying on the wet 
straw. The barn smelled of cattle. As Hadden gently 
laid Captain Jones down with the others, his eyes 
were brought to the level of one of the chinks be- 
tween the loosely laid-up logs. In the bright sunlight 
of the pasture, a hundred yards away an American 
infantry regiment was lining up. All the men seemed 
to be big in size, moving with assurance under com- 
petent officers. This, then, was the Continental line, 
and Thomas Hadden, of the Royal Artillery, was 
caught in a stinking cow barn between that line and 
the British regulars! 

With the arrival of General Poor's brigade in the 
woods in front of Burgoyne's British infantry, Mor- 
gan shifted his riflemen to the American left, to en- 
gage Eraser's advance corps in their strong hill posi- 
tion. They found good shooting into the 24th Foot, 
and Colonel Morgan was content to pin his enemy 
down until Benedict Arnold could bring up Ebenezer 
Learned's brigade. 

No one had attacked General Riedesel. The stocky 
German general paced the road, awaiting the call 
that surely must come from Burgoyne. Willoe was 
with the general, and Riedesel had also sent Geismar; 
neither had yet returned with the expected summons. 
He heard the firing as the 62nd made their charge. 
Standing still to listen, he heard the regiment come 
back and the guns, so long silent, come alive, and 


then he recognized the subtle change as British 
cannon fire slowed down, while the rebel fire in- 
creased. When the guns fell silent again, Riedesel, 
for the second time that afternoon, flung out the 
order to follow, and without waiting mounted and 
rode down into the gully. 

At the bottom, where the road skirted a marshy 
part of the mill stream, Riedesel met the returning 
Geismar and Willoe. While the three were talking, 
two of Rhetz's companies came singing down the 
road. Riedesel waved them on, pointing with his 
gold-headed stick to the slope ahead. His own regi- 
ment followed, as loud of voice as the Rhetz, and 
even louder of drum. Ernst Ludwig von Spaeth was 
commanding, and the general needed only a word in 
passing to convey to von Spaeth his intent to bolster 
up the British left. Sure of his gunner, Riedesel left 
Captain Pausch to deploy his own guns. 

Ziglamm, the wagonmaster, had found a way up 
to the height of land for Pausch's battery. It would 
be a hard haul around the edge of the swamp and up 
through an edge of the cornfield. But Ziglamm had 
gathered together some extra men to join the gunners 
at the drag-ropes. The officers, too, heaved on the 
spokes of the wheels, as the two cannon rolled on 
through the corn stalks, and the big yellow pumpkins 
were crushed under the iron-shod wheels. Behind the 
guns, an odd assortment of men came out of the 
gully, loaded down with shells and ball and powder. 
Pausch had scrambled on ahead to where he had a 
clear view. Out in the field stood the two deserted 


guns of Hadden's battery, their brass muzzles stained 
black with much firing. Pausch saw the Continentals 
formed up at the edge of the wood, and ran back to 
urge his own guns on. With a rush, they burst out 
through the last row of corn, and under their gun 
captains* orders wheeled and dropped their trail. 
While the gun crews loaded, the blue-coated Bruns- 
wick infantry began to arrive on the field, to left and 
to right. Perhaps it was stunned surprise, or perhaps 
it was the blue coats of the Germans, but the Yankee 
regiment seemed to hesitate for a moment. It was the 
crucial instant when mattresses rammed home the 
charge, gun captains applied the linstock, and the 
guns let loose their swarms of stinging grapeshot out 
of a roar and rush of smoke. The Continental line 
was only a pistol shot away. As the Hesse-Hanau 
gunners reloaded, Eiedesel's regiment opened with 
volley fire. Far across the meadow Pausch saw a 
house under a big shade tree; drums were beating 
and a British regiment was advancing to the attack. 
General Phillips was leading the charge. 

The field was obscured in the smoke. With the 
going down of the sun, unnoticed, the light wind had 
dropped into stillness. Without a field of fire, Cap- 
tain Pausch silenced the guns. The musket fire was 
slowing down. A single volley burst out on the left, 
after which came silence. The smoke of battle was 
dispersing. All over the meadow, the men in British 
red and German blue stood calmly in their ranks, 
facing an empty wood. 

Slowly and painfully, the gunners of the Hesse- 


Hanau Artillery dragged their cannon f orward, out of 
the German line. All eyes turned dully, incuriously, 
on the struggling group of men. Sixty yards in front 
of the whole army, the guns came to a halt. The gun 
crews took up their stations as though they were on 
parade. Pausch's orders were crisp and clear, as the 
gunners executed the drill of loading. At the captain's 
command, the two guns roared in unison. No one 
counted the parting shots fired into the woods after 
the retreating rebels. They were a salute to a brave 
day, an evening gun of rememberance. In fifteen 
minutes it was dark. 


Muffled Drums 

Harness chains rattled and limber wheels jounced 
bumpily over the ditch. Lieutenant Hadden, still hat- 
less, heard the familiar sound as he stood alone in the 
darkness, beside his silent guns. When he reached a 
caressing hand to the nearest piece, the metal was 
cold to his touch. It was as though he had touched 
the faces of the dead gunners beside the wheels, at 
the trail, or out by the muzzle where the grass was 
black with scorch. The limbers came out of the 
night to Hadden's low call, and in silence dragged 
away the two brass cannon, leaving the crumpled 
dead alone without the symbols of their life and of 
their death. 

Lanterns were blinking all over Freeman's fields as 
Lieutenant Hadden marched off his guns. The dim 
yellow lights dotted out the lines of infantry, where 
sergeants called the roll of companies and detailed 
the first watches of the night. A surviving officer was 
hard put to find a friend to share a nip from his flask, 
so accurate had been the Yankee rifle fire. 

Colonel Anstruther of the hard-fought 62nd was 



the last senior officer to join the others at the farm- 
house headquarters. He brought with him an appall- 
ing list of one hundred and forty-six casualties, and 
an additional twenty-nine who were prisoners of the 
rebels; some of his companies had been reduced to 
ten tired men. General Fraser, though not heavily 
engaged, glumly reported fifty casualties in his own 
24th alone. His grenadiers and light infantry were 
sorely tired after their day exposed to the unseen 
rifles of Morgan's men. At General Burgoyne's con- 
ference that night, no officer was present to report 
the brigade artillery casualties. Lieutenant Hadden, 
the last gunner officer or man had gone down 
the line to have his own wound dressed. 

While the unit commanders talked over the day, 
it grew quiet on the heights above the Hudson, 
where the British army lay on its arms, on the fields 
that it had held. Tired men slept in their ranks. 
Sentries and picquets, more nervous than alert, felt 
the cold beneath the belt straps crossing their backs. 
Those near the gully heard the creak of wagons tak- 
ing the wounded back to hospital, and listened for 
other carts coming up, carts that might bring them 
food. In the woods, dry-mouthed sentries, crouching 
down among tall trees, heard in the darkness the 
coughs and moans of yet undiscovered wounded, 
grew drowsy, and again became alert when the cor- 
poral, bringing up the relief, cautiously called out the 

Neither those who watched nor those who slept 
knew that, at the council of war that night, they had 


been given one more whole day to live. Burgoyne 
had been persuaded to postpone until 21 September 
the continuation of his advance on the rebels. The 
battle at Freeman's farm was over. 

Down on the river flats, where the rear echelon 
of General Burgoyne's army was gathered, the long 
afternoon had not yet ended. There, where the 
women waited and the surgeons worked, the battle 
did not end until the last patient had been cared for 
and the fate of the last man was known. 

At the first sound of distant gunfire, the five ladies 
of Burgoyne's armies drew together. Quite naturally, 
they gathered in the big downstairs room of the 
Smith house, the quarters to which little Baroness 
Riedesel had laid claim by bringing in her children's 
trunks and setting down her own open dressing case 
on the deep cedar doorsilL Rockel, the butler, had 
brought tea to the ladies, after which he had gone 
to be near the major, leaving his mistress in the care 
of the two frightened maids. 

Of the four ladies who waited courageously, Lady 
Harriet Acland had the least chance of escaping the 
dreaded news. Out there amid the terrifying noise 
was not only her Husband but her brother as well. 
It took a long time for the news to trickle back with 
the wounded. Mrs. Harnage was the first of the ladies 
to learn her fate. They carried the major in and laid 
him down beside his wife, who covered with her lace 
handkerchief the angry bluish hole in her husband's 
abdomen before she managed a smile for him. Soon 


the house had become a hospital, and all the ladies 
went to work. Friederika Riedesel was rummaging 
in her trunk in search of her own linen for an ensign 
with a shattered leg, when she saw a man stand- 
ing in the doorway, looking full at her. But before 
she had time either to fall into despair or to let loose 
her relief, the man's eyes carried hers across the room 
to where Mrs. Lieutenant Reynell sat, silently weep- 
ing. The man nodded his head. When the lieutenant 
was brought in, Baroness Riedesel was holding the 
girl tightly in her arms. There was no hope for 
Thomas Reynell: his arm was off before they brought 
him into the hospital* It was morning before he died, 
leaving his young wife and three little children on 
the banks of the Hudson River, in the North Ameri- 
can wilderness. 

Not until dawn of 20 September did the soldiers 
on the high ground receive their rations. At the same 
time the men of the line regiments, British and Ger- 
man, went down into the gully to fill their empty 
water bottles. The food refreshed spirits as well as 
bodies, and the fresh water washed away the tired- 
ness in their bones. Now they were fit for the work 
to be done that day. With the carts bringing the food 
there also came shovels. Groups of men were told 
off to dig wide, oblong trenches for graves. Other 
groups spread out over the fields and into the woods, 
to gather in the dead for burial, while ashen-faced 
chaplains waited, book in hand. 

Thomas Anburey prided himself that the two graves 


dug by his detachment were deep, their sides square, 
the soil well piled. Into the larger of the pits he saw 
the bodies of the men laid neatly side by side, in 
ranks, as they had lived and as they died. Into the 
smaller grave, Anburey placed the three ensigns he 
had found lying all together where the British line 
ran closest to the woods* None of the three was older 
than the drummer boy now beating out the dead 
march on a muffled drum. Though he was short of 
camp gear, Lieutenant Anburey avoided the sale that 
evening, at which the effects of the dead officers were 

It was late when the courier from New York got 
through the lines and found his way, unnoticed, to 
General Burgoyne's headquarters at the Freeman 
house. The message he brought was written small. It 
was pulled from its hiding place crumpled and 
stained, but under a glass, by the light of a single 
candle, the letters were clear, the words bold, and 
Burgoyne read them with soaring hope. Sir Henry 
Clinton would soon be out, his destination the high- 
lands of the Hudsonl 

Clinton had given Gentleman Johnny, always a 
heavy gambler, a high trump card for his tight little 
game with that more cautious player, Horatio Gates. 
With the Guards General in New York holding cards, 
Burgoyne could now lean back in his chair to review 
his hand and, possibly, revise his play. In the first ex- 
change of tricks, on 19 September, the British had 
won the field by keeping possession of it. But at Free- 


man's farm, Burgoyne had suffered irreplaceable 
losses in officers, gunners, and soldiers, without either 
sweeping the rebels out of the road to Albany or 
winning any distance toward that city. The renewal 
of the attack on the American left, scheduled to go 
in on the morning of 21 September, was calculated 
to break through the American defenses. But a battle 
is always a chancy thing, and, like cards, soldiers 
once played are dead. With Clinton coming up the 
Hudson at Gates's back, Burgoyne could afford to 
wait for a better moment to lead his strength at the 
American general's field works. 

It was not until shortly before daybreak that Bur- 
goyne cancelled the attack and ordered his troops to 
dig in. By mid-morning of 21 September, Gentleman 
Johnny, the gambler, had reverted to General Bur- 
goyne, the writer, penning a letter to Sir Henry in 
which he urged all haste, as supplies could last only 
until 12 October at the latest. By that date the north- 
ern army must either be in Albany or, admitting de- 
feat, at Ticonderoga. 

For Horatio Gates, 19 September had not been a 
happy day. Things had not gone according to his 
plan; the direction of the battle had been snatched 
out of his hands; and by nightfall he was in danger 
of losing the glory of the day to Benedict Arnold, the 
hero of Valcour Island. 

In the morning, when the sun-signals had been 
flashed to him from the east shore of the Hudson, 
General Gates had ordered his army to man the field 


works. Three brigades o Continentals faced the river 
road, with their general peering over their shoulders, 
looking for the British main attack to fall. Benedict 
Arnold's two brigades, Continentals with militia, 
manned the still uncompleted salient of breastworks 
on the heights, near the Neilson house and barn. 

About noon, the reluctant Gates had been per- 
suaded to order out Morgan's corps. They were to 
make contact with the British right wing in the 
woods and along the road to Freeman s farm. Ad- 
vancing in small groups on a wide front, Morgan met 
and beat in the picquet of Burgoyne's center column. 
It was at this point that Horatio Gates lost control 
of his battle. Joyous at seeing the redcoats run, the 
riflemen forgot their long-range tactical advantage 
and pursued too closely. They ran onto the oncom- 
ing British bayonets and were scattered in confusion. 

Benedict Arnold, ever volatile, never patient, had 
moved forward of his division's position to follow the 
progress of Dan Morgan's reconnaissance from one of 
the small works, built as a listening post well forward 
of Gates's main line of defense. Even the rough bar- 
ricade of logs and earth cramped the aggressive spirit 
of the stocky major general, to whom a fort was the 
starting point for an attack, not a place in which to 
cower. Arnold, awkward from an old leg wound, had 
climbed up to the top of the parapet when the first 
fire of the riflemen broke out. There he was standing 
when he heard the frenzied gobble of Dan Morgan's 
turkey call, urging his scattered men to rally. It was 
a cry for help, too, like that of a good hound dog 


who has brought the red stag to bay. Arnold hark- 
ened, and, with the weird sound of the wild turkey 
beating in his ears, exploded into action. Racing back 
to his division, he grabbed the first two regiments he 
came upon and sent them running down the road to 
Freeman's farm. They were the New Hampshire 
Continentals, men of Joseph Cilley's and Alexander 
Scammers regiments. Hale's men followed, then the 
New Yorkers. Most of Poor's brigade, too, was in the 
firing line in the woods at the south end of Freeman's 
home pasture. Morgan had disengaged, to slide over 
to the American left and face the British right, 
"treed" on its high ground. Galloping up, Arnold saw 
his troops engaging the British line across the open 
fields. Seeing the gap between the British center and 
Fraser's corps in the woods, he dashed away in search 
of General Learned's brigade, to exploit the situation. 
It was then that Arnold ran afoul of Gates. Every 
action that Arnold had taken that afternoon had been 
without the American commander in chiefs orders, 
and contrary to his intention. Arnold had abandoned 
the American army's main line of defense at a time 
when Gates had expected the main British attack 
down the slot he had prepared for it. To exploit an 
opportunity which had not been carefully con- 
sidered, the swarthy division commander had opened 
a general engagement with Burgoyne, at great risk to 
his command. It had been difficult for Gates to re- 
store order among the excited officers and men of 
Arnold's division, who were yelping at the British 
stag in Freeman's fields. Wilkinson had restrained 


Arnold from returning yet again to tlie fight, with the 
result that the regimental commanders lost the co- 
hesive leadership they needed, and fell back. 

So ended the battle and the day for Gates and for 
Arnold. In his quarters, the latter was composing a 
letter requesting that he be sent at once to serve 
under General Washington. Gates, his army again 
under control, was in his tent working over plans 
and forms and lists, while his adjutant general saw to 
it that the battle of 19 September 1777 was accounted 
a victory for General Gates, with no credit whatever 
accruing to the disobedient major general. 

Benedict Arnold did not leave the northern de- 
partment for three weeks. The senior officers of the 
army persuaded him to stay on. With neither duty 
nor command, since Gates had taken his division 
from him, Arnold remained in his quarters, taking 
an occasional drink with the two aides he had in- 
herited from Philip Schuyler, mocking "Granny" 
Gates from afar, and for the moment keeping 
within the limits of sarcasm the fury mounting within 
him. On the fine days of the northern autumn, he 
moved his chair to the doorstep. He was sitting there, 
idly watching the soldiers at their digging, when 
the first great flock of Canada geese flew by. It is 
the sound of their honking which first lifts one's eye 
to their flight. It is an insistent, urgently plaintive cry, 
quite unlike the clipped, quick, assured call of the 
wild turkey gobbler ordering his hens to follow him. 
Yet it is the call of the strong-willed leader, carrying 
the wide-spreading wedge of his followers behind 
him down the broad lanes of the upper air. 


Horatio Gates busied himself in his headquarters 
tent. Field works must be perfected and extended 
to make strong the left flank which the enemy had at- 
tempted to turn. Then, too, the militiamen, fully 
aroused at last, were corning in by the hundreds, each 
newly arrived unit requiring much staff work before 
it was assimilated into the northern army. But Gates 
as well came to stand at the flap of his tent, to watch 
for a time the flight of the wild geese. As the approach- 
ing cold of winter drove the big birds south, so the 
coming pangs of hunger would send Burgoyne's regi- 
ments marching up to the American lines. 

On 3 October, in a routine order that reflected the 
state of his commissary, General Burgoyne put his 
whole army on half ration. The men took the order 

The troops had worked hard since the day after the 
battle, when they had buried their dead. The field of 
corn at the Freeman farm had been harvested as 
fodder for the horse lines. Lieutenant Schank had 
moved his pontoon bridge downstream. Again in 
position, it reached from the base camp to the east 
shore of the Hudson, where a bridgehead redoubt 
was thrown up. But the bridge reached only to a 
blind shore, for beyond the redoubt the American 
militia roamed the woods in menacing strength. 

The main work of Burgoyne's army, however, was 
in erecting a strong, safe, fortified line in which, to 
await the corning of Clinton. The works extended in 
a long, jagged line across the high ground where 
Riedesel had waited with his reinforcements. This 


part of the British works dominated the river road 
and, from positions on the forward slope, watched 
the crossings of Mill Creek. To the west of the long 
redoubt, behind which Burgoyne established his 
headquarters, a dotted line of small positions ex- 
tended the fortified line through the gully to the high 
ground where stood the Freeman farm. On the old 
battlefield, the British engineers had traced out a 
great redoubt in the shape of a broken sling swivel 
Within its earth and log walls stood the Freeman 
house, serving as headquarters. This, the pivotal posi- 
tion of the whole line, was named Balcarres redoubt, 
in honor of the twenty-four-year-old Scottish earl, 
whose reckless bravery in leading the light infantry 
was exceeded only by his daring at the nightly card 
games with his general. Twelve hundred yards to 
the north, the Germans, under General Breymann, 
built their redoubt on the edge of the Great Ravine, 
which was an impenetrable tangle of scrub-brush. It 
faced north over newly cleared fields, across which a 
road wound its way to yet more distant clearings. 
Between the Balcarres redoubt and the open rear of 
Breymann's redoubt stood two log cabins in which 
the last remnant of Burgoyne's Canadians camped 
and cooked their thick soups. Here lived the eleven- 
year-old Monin, whose father, "le capitaine," had 
fallen to a Yankee rifleman out where the woods were 
thickest, and where only the strongest British patrols 
dared go. The boy, with his dog Bellona, hunted 
rabbits in the fields and waited to be taken home to 
Canada by the friends of his dead father. 


Baroness Riedesel, too, was to have a house in 
which to live with her children as soon as Major 
Williams's men could complete it. There, she would 
be near enough to her husband's headquarters to 
watch over the preparation of his meals and to give 
dinner parties at which she and her husband could 
entertain the other generals. Her house was close to 
the rear echelon of the army, where the gun park 
stood beside the river, near the hospital. The boats 
of the supply fleet lined the banks of the river, the 
stores they had carried stacked under oilcloth cover- 
ings, and all the followers of the army and the soldiers 
passing on details could see the dwindling piles. It 
was on the river bank, where the women and the 
idlers gathered, that hopeful rumors on which to feed 
the army were bred. 

Like clean white linen spread on the grass to dry, 
the news was plain for all to see. Clinton was coming, 
of course. General Burgoyne had received a secret 
messenger who brought the welcome news. Three 
officer-couriers, heavily disguised, had gone out to tell 
Sir Henry that the army from Canada was ready to 
attack when he did, but that he must hurry. Twice 
they had gone out, on the nights of 22 and 23 Septem- 
ber, while the British guns thundered to draw in the 
Yankee patrols, enabling the messengers to slip 
through. The army knew that Captain Scott had gone 
to Clinton on 27 September, followed the next night 
by Captain Alexander Campbell. A wild, romantic 
tale was circulating that one of the officers carried his 
message in the hollow shell of a bullet made of silver. 


For several days the men standing to in the early 
morning asked each other for the true news from the 
north. Some said that Skenesborough was in Ameri- 
can hands, others that Ticonderoga had fallen to the 
Americans. It was not until the evening alert on 2 
October that the men in the lines and at the redoubts, 
listening for the evening guns in the rebel lines echo- 
ing their own, learned what had really happened at 
Ticonderoga. General Burgoyne received word from 
Brigadier Powell that he had been attacked by a force 
sent out from Vermont by General Lincoln. For four 
days he had been molested by fifteen hundred rebels 
but, recognizing the action as a raid in force, he had 
fended them off by remaining inside his forts at Ti- 
conderoga and on Mount Independence. At last they 
had gone away, but not before taking the fortifica- 
tions on Sugar Loaf, from which, fortunately, the 
big guns had already been removed. The Yankees 
had also taken the posts all along the portage road 
and all the boats they found at the foot of Lake 
George. Colonel John Brown, the boldest of the 
American officers, had gone up Lake George in the 
captured gunboats, tarrying only long enough to 
menace the forewarned garrison on Diamond Island 
before taking off eastward through the woods. 

Twenty Canadian Indians brought this news from 
Ticonderoga. But their coming was of little interest 
or encouragement to the British enclave on the Hud- 
son. All trust in their savage allies had gone out of 
Burgoyne's army, who had been betrayed by wanton 
murder and disgraced by caviling cowardice. In the 


great fortified camp, twenty Indians were but twenty 
additional mouths to feed. There was no work for 
them to do. The woods around the army were Ameri- 
can woods, into which even Captain Eraser's marks- 
men scarcely dared to venture. By day and by night 
the Yankees patrolled the fringes of the British camp, 
while wolves howled in the distance. In the center 
of the ring Burgoyne's army waited, isolated and 
alone, yet confident that when the right time came 
their general would lead them out to smash through 
the encircling rebels and clasp hands with Sir Henry 
Clinton's men. The army knew that Clinton could 
not be far away, else Gentleman Johnny would not 

At midnight, when 5 October passed over into the 
next day, a rocket was fired from the lines near army 
headquarters. It soared high into the dark sky, 
launching a final rumor: the old soldiers knew, and 
quickly told the young ones, that a night rocket was 
fired only when a friendly force was near. Though no 
answering rocket lit the sky beyond the rebel lines, at 
headquarters they must be expecting the approach of 
Sir Henry Clinton. As the rocket arched upward, 
those nearby saw Gentleman Johnny, standing at the 
open door of his quarters. Several officers were with 
him, and the light from the room beyond caught the 
gleam of satin as the commissary's wife turned to go 
back to the warm fire burning on the hearth. 


General Fraser Eats Breakfast 

General Fraser rode his handsome gray down into 
the gully behind the Balcarres redoubt. Since first 
he had passed that way, the leaves of the swamp 
maple growing by the bridge had turned scarlet, as 
scarlet as the generaTs coat. Sumac at the edge of the 
swamp was the crimson of his sash, while on the sky- 
line toward which he rode the drooping branches of 
an old oak tree were the color of the tarnished gold 
epaulets at his shoulders. Breasting the hill at a snort- 
ing, plunging gallop, the general of the advance 
guard reined his horse back into the dignity of a 
controlled walk and soothed it with an approving pat. 
He was in behind the long, wavy line of field works 
and among the rows of tents, where, in passing, sol- 
diers acknowledged his rank and showed their esteem 
for him. At the edge of the headquarters compound 
an orderly ran out to take the bridle reins. The Bruns- 
wick dragoon sentries took their pose of rocklike 
attention. In the bright, warm sunlight of the fine 
October Sunday, General Fraser paused for a barely 
perceptible instant before crossing over the threshold 


into the room where Time demanded a grave de- 

It was the second time that week-end that Lieu- 
tenant General John Burgoyne had called in to 
headquarters his three division commanders: Major 
General Phillips of the British line, Major General 
Riedesel, and Acting Brigadier General Fraser of the 
elite advance corps. On Saturday, 4 October, the four 
men had met in a council of war to consider Bur- 
goyne's bold plan to cut loose from his heavy guns, 
his full hospital, his dwindling supply column, and 
the women of his army, in a wide arching dive into 
the forest that would bring the fighting troops out 
behind Gates's army and make them the vanguard of 
Sir Henry Clinton's expected advance. At Sunday's 
meeting Burgoyne's generals rejected the rash plan, 
as too risky for those left behind and too problemati- 
cal as to the anticipated merger with Clinton's forces. 
The fallow silence that followed the veto was broken 
by Riedesel, the disenchanted German whose na- 
tionality had excluded him from Burgoyne's proud 
boast, at the crossing of the Hudson, that "Britons 
never retreat!" The baron, whose initiative had saved 
the day at Freeman's farm, proposed that the whole 
army retire to the old position on the Batten Kill, 
there to nurture itself at the dangling end of the Ti- 
conderoga supply line until Clinton's arrival was more 
imminent. Simon Fraser, the Highland Scot, con- 
curred in the opinion of the comrade-in-arms who 
had turned the Yankee right flank for him on the 
Hubbardton road. With a motion of his hand, Phillips 


abstained. As a major in the Royal Artillery, Phillips 
had witnessed the total casualties at Jones's guns on 
19 September, when forty-eight irreplaceable gun 
numbers were lost to Burgoyne's army. And as a 
major general in the British Army, the old gunner 
knew the solitary responsibility of high command, 
where one's guideposts through the fog of war are 
months old instructions issued by people in a remote 
place, informed of circumstances no longer existent. 
Phillips could only sympathize and obey. 

The instructions to Lieutenant General John Bur- 
goyne were clear: he was to take his army to Albany 
and there place himself under command of General 
Sir William Howe. In the light of these orders, Bur- 
goyne would only accept as a responsible opinion, 
put forward by two brave and reliable officers, the 
advice of Riedesel and Fraser to retreat. His duty and 
inclination lay in the opposite direction. At the coun- 
cil of war Burgoyne was forced to effect a compro- 
mise between his own natural instinct and the un- 
acceptable (to him) caution of his subordinates. 

Ultimately a solution to the problem was found. It 
was agreed that on Tuesday, 7 October, all four gen- 
erals would make a reconnaissance in force of the 
American left. If it was then deemed feasible, a gen- 
eral attack would be ordered for the following day. 
If the American position was found to be unassail- 
able, after waiting out the week, Burgoyne would 
retire on the Saturday to the old Batten Kill position. 

The command decision came hard to General John 
Burgoyne. He even sought to avoid it by asking for 


orders from Sir Henry Clinton. But he received no 
reply and, with his fate hanging on the disembodied 
instructions from London, he prepared to make his 
reconnaissance. He ordered rum for the whole army: 
one barrel for the auxiliaries, three for the British 
line, four for the Germans, and four for the advance 
guard who would he going out in the morning. On 
Monday morning the carts dropped the rum off at 
the various positions. There were many willing hands 
to ease the barrels to the ground and roll them up 
onto the racks, where spigots were driven into the 
bung-holes. Popularity was natural to Gentleman 
Johnny Burgoyne. 

Duty calls to the common soldier very early in the 
morning. A sentry, eager for companionship, wakens 
the drummers and the cooks as early as he dares. At 
the first sound of drums, the corporals poke and pull 
their squads into wakefulness before the sergeants 
can find them remiss in their first duty of the day. 
Two subalterns, sharing a tent, lie awake on their 
cots as they listen to the noises of the rousing camp, 
and luxuriate until the servant whom they share 
brings water for their ablutions, and what fare can be 
managed from an army starving on half-rations. 
Majors and colonels of many years* service find that 
the chill of a northern New York knows where old 
wounds and old injuries twinge and ache the most. 
The morning mist from the Hudson River gets into 
the back of their throats and sends them, snuffling 
and coughing, into their field trunks, where they keep 
their private stock of bone-warming liquor. Majors 


and colonels are meticulous as to their dress, and 
take a long time at their morning toilet extra time 
for the leisurely ablutions of the captains of com- 

Generals are exalted persons. Lieutenant General 
Jolm Burgoyne was the most exalted of all the army 
that camped on the banks of the Hudson, six miles 
below Stillwater. In all the northern frontier of the 
war, the only man equal to General Burgoyne in 
importance was Major General Horatio Gates of the 
Continental Army, whose picquets faced the British 
at musket-shot distance, and whose main defense 
works were only a mile from the Balcarres redoubt. 
Gates's headquarters tent was pitched at a road junc- 
ture, half a mile behind his front lines. The general 
was early at his desk on the morning of 7 October, 
with a full day's work before him. Since the British 
sortie on 19 September and the nearly mutinous 
brushfire fight that had contained it, Gates's army 
had almost doubled in number. The militia had 
turned out, its ire thoroughly aroused by the murder 
and pillage by Burgoyne's Indians, and reassured in 
its patriotism by Stark's victory at Beimington, Herki- 
mer's and Arnold's turning back of St. Leger, and 
General Lincoln's exhortation to the Continentals to 
stand at the pass above Stillwater. To Gates, the mili- 
tia presented a delicate problem in staff work. Theo- 
retically, the men came supplied often ludicrously 
so in their own interpretation of what constituted 
a uniform and other martial equipment. Soon after its 
arrival, a company, hungry after its march from a 
hamlet in a distant valley, would be demanding food. 


All the militia seemed to be prodigious eaters, and 
their powder horns were as empty as their stomachs 
and the flabby shot pouches hanging at their belts. 

With the influx of ardent militiamen, the Ameri- 
cans' resources, already low in ordnance supplies, 
were sorely taxed. But the nicest staff problem for the 
former British brigade major was the brigading and 
deploying of this mass of citizen-soldiers. Gates put 
the Massachusetts units, some thirteen hundred men, 
under command of the militia general, John Fellows, 
with an assignment to proceed up the Hudson by the 
east shore, cross over again, and lie on Burgoyne's 
rear at Saratoga. Two Connecticut State Regiments 
were veterans of Poor's brigade. Even the problem of 
Stark and his New Hampshire men had been solved. 
The old rock-visaged ranger, with his eight hundred 
men, had been persuaded to leave the fair fringe of 
New England for the deserted fort and buildings at 
Fort Edward, through which Barry St. Leger must 
come with reinforcements for Burgoyne if, indeed, 
he came at all. Searching the empty place, Stark 
found, decently interred in the fort cemetery, the 
boats with which St. Leger was to have crossed the 
Hudson. These were destroyed before the New 
Hampshire army, still shy, still suspicious, edged a 
little closer to the place and hour of destiny. John 
Stark did not know it, as he prowled the upper Hud- 
son in the bright October sun, but the general's com- 
mission which he so truculently regarded as his due, 
lay already signed on a Congressional desk in 
distant Philadelphia. 

Less bright on his shoulders were Benedict Arnold's 


stars of rank. Gates had neutralized Arnold, who, for 
the three weeks following his disobedience of 19 
September, was virtually under house arrest. But 
General Gates could never quite forget him, Arnold 
represented the old Schuyler faction. He was the 
fiery comet of the battlefield that all soldiers look to 
in their own fear of death or cowardice. Schuyler 
himself had been dealt with, and Gates no longer 
feared him. The former general was a not-infrequent 
visitor to the American camp. He had even given the 
army lumber for the bridge Fellows's brigade had 
used to cross to the east bank of the Hudson. But 
Gates had not felt sufficiently secure to dismiss 
Arnold, or even to grant his request for transfer out 
of the northern department. So he was left to wither 
and fall in inactivity, until a gale could be stirred up 
finally to blow him away. 

Meanwhile, Brigadier General Abram Ten Broeck's 
New York State militia was kept away from him. 
These Yorkers were Schuyler men and were inher- 
ently suspicious of the New England faction, in the 
army or the government. They were men whose 
homes had been pillaged by Burgoyne's army, or 
were imminently threatened by that army's advance 
and the Tory rule it would bring. It was they who 
were impatient for revenge, and who sought a bold 
leader such as Benedict Arnold, now disgraced but 
famed in many battles. While his defensive plans 
matured, Gates kept the New York militia in the rear 
or scattered in the woods, where they could stalk the 
unwary British patrols and foraging parties, far re- 


moved from the orderly procedure of the American 
staff tents. 

Horatio Gates knew that Sir Henry Clinton was 
moving on the highlands of the Hudson. The Yankee ' 
general was in close correspondence with Israel Put- 
nam, the American commander there. Each report 
that Clinton was still below the highlands meant an- 
other day that Gates could count on for Burgoyne to 
eat himself toward the decision being forced upon 

So, Horatio Gates worked on through the morning 
of 7 October, toward the time that he would be called 
to dine. 

General Burgoyne ate a leisurely breakfast on the 
morning of 7 October. He was still at table when the 
contingent of two hundred soldiers, selected from the 
several German regiments, marched past his dining- 
room window, on their way to the forming-up point 
for the reconnaissance in force. With them, and rais- 
ing a cloud of dust from the dry road, Captain 
Pausch ckttered by with two 6-pounders. The four 
ammunition wagons following the guns made quite a 
cavalcade. Later, Burgoyne was disposing of some 
staff details at his writing-table when Major Griffith 
Williams rode up, turned out of the road, and, still 
in his saddle, watched while his battery of guns went 
by. For the reconnaissance Williams had selected his 
two best 12-pounders the same guns with which 
he had defied the great wilderness fortress at Ticon- 
deroga. Major Williams had decided to accompany 


his beloved la's, not only to watch them but because 
he hoped to place them on a hill nearby and from 
there to pour a few shots in the rebel field fort. For 
his anticipated shoot, Williams had ordered out his 
two 8-inch howitzers, which were to drop shells in 
among the rebels as they cowered behind their works. 
He watched as the gun teams dragged the howitzers 
past: squat brass tubes, their big mouths thrust up as 
though drinking from the sky. They were very differ- 
ent from the long shining barrels of the 12-pounders, 
crouching in their carriages like vicious panthers 
readying to spring. Before the last tumbril passed, 
Major Williams dismounted and joined the head- 
quarters group of officers waiting to ride out with 
their general. 

There was a festive atmosphere as the men waited 
in the yard, a little removed from where the grooms 
held the horses, which were fully caparisoned for 
battle with the bulky pistol-holders at the pommels 
and cloaks rolled behind the cantles. Many of the 
headquarters staff were riding out that day, among 
them the two bright luminaries of General Burgoyne's 
intimate family of aides: Sir Francis Carr Clarke, 
whose lieutenancy in the 3rd Foot Guards was 
equivalent to a captaincy in any other regiment, and 
Lord Petersham, his slim boots drawn over cavalry- 
man's shanks. Captain John Money, the quartermas- 
ter general, stood talking with Captain Thomas 
Blomfield. The latter specialized in water-borne artil- 
lery, and, since Charles Green had been shot, was 
acting as aide-de-camp to General Phillips. 


Standing by the headquarters door and sliding the 
focusing piece in and out of his battered old brass 
telescope, General Phillips waited for Burgoyne to 
come out and begin the reconnaissance. Riedesel 
walked back and forth, stopping occasionally to talk 
with Phillips as though the council of war still con- 
tinued. The commander of all the Brunswick and 
Hessian troops of Burgoyne's army had breakfasted 
with his wife, as usual. The meal had been a hasty 
one, as he had been summoned when the parade of 
German troops was formed up. The Baroness had 
hurried him, too, for she had a menu to contrive and 
a table to set in her new house. She was giving a 
dinner-party that afternoon after the men returned. 
The work of finding suitable food in the near-starva- 
tion camp, the decoration of the room and table, and 
the supervision of the cooking would keep her busy 
and occupy her mind while the men were out. 

Simon Fraser, who was to be one of Friederika 
Riedesel's guests of the evening, was not among the 
group waiting on Burgoyne at headquarters. He was 
at the Balcarres redoubt, supervising the assembly of 
the troops for the reconnaissance. He had eaten a 
substantial English breakfast in preparation for the 
busy day that lay ahead of him. 

Lieutenant Anburey, who was commanding the 
quarter guard of the day, had gone out toward the 
American lines and had returned to report them all 
quiet. He brought back to Fraser the extraordinary 
report that, in a thicket, he had discovered the bodies 
of three Yankees, one of them being that of a young 


woman apparently killed while she was bringing an 
apron full of paper cartridges out to the men. General 
Fraser was returning from a last word with his 
nephew, who was taking out the marksmen, the 
Tories, and a few painted Indians for a wide scout to 
westward, when the German contingent from the 
main camp came marching up. Lieutenant Colonel 
von Spaeth halted his troops on the low ground be- 
tween the two redoubts. Drums sounded in the curve 
of the Breymann redoubt, and soon the three hun- 
dred grenadiers designated for von Spaeth's com- 
mand marched down to fall into the column, now 
five hundred strong. Lieutenant du Fais of the Hesse- 
Hanau Artillery followed them to talk with Captain 
Pausch. Then du Fais climbed up the hill again to 
where his two guns were, and would remain, with 
Colonel Breymann and the two hundred grenadiers 
left to hold the redoubt. 

Major Acland had his grenadiers out in good time, 
in the cleared space in front of the Balcarres re- 
doubt. The Earl of Balcarres marched his quick- 
stepping light infantry across their front to gain their 
starting line on the extreme right of the British ad- 
vance, with the grenadiers to their left. Close behind 
the light infantry followed the 24th Foot. John Acland 
waved to his brother-in-law, Stephen Strangways, as 
he marched past at the head of his company. 

General Fraser was up on his fine gray when Gen- 
eral Burgoyne rode out of the gully, the other 
generals and the large staff group behind him. Bur- 
goyne waited at the Balcarres redoubt only long 


enough for the orders to move out to be sent to the 
three columns. It was almost one o'clock by Lieuten- 
ant Digb/s watch when the grenadiers began their 



7 Octo&er 1777 


No Dinner for the General 

Marching beside Captain Wight, Lieutenant William 
Digby of the 53rd crossed the cleared ground in good 
order with his company. On reaching the edge of the 
woods, parade order was broken and the captain, the 
lieutenant, and the sergeant each led a single file of 
grenadiers in a twisting trail through the trees and 
the undergrowth of brush. Soon they came to the 
road between Neilson's and Freeman's farms, across 
which a large fenced-in field of wheat sloped from 
high ground into a ravine across its southern border. 
Major Acland was waiting in the road when the com- 
pany of grenadiers of the 53rd Regiment came out. 
He showed Captain Wight where he wished the com- 
pany to form a line, extending the grenadier front 
from its left, in the woods, into the standing wheat. 
To the west, the Germans were coming onto the field 
and spreading out thinly to join up with the 24th 
Foot and light infantry, making a line of men a thou- 
sand yards in length. From where Digby was he could 
not see the guns, but he could hear the shouts of 
the drivers as they turned the teams off the road to 



the selected positions, the iz-pounders unlimbering 
behind the grenadiers. Orders came from the rear for 
the men to sit down and, though they had marched 
only half a mile from the redoubt, the soldiers quickly 
took advantage of the opportunity and sprawled 
themselves out in the yellow wheat. Captain Wight 
walked over to where Digby sat, cross-legged, behind 
his company, and invited the lieutenant to stroll 
about with him. Wight led him a short way down the 
line where they could see a small abandoned log 
cabin set at the edge of the woods beside a rail fence 
that defined the wheatfield. On the roof of the cabin, 
like a bunch of brightly dyed feathers on a dilapi- 
dated old brown beaver hat, perched three British 
generals and a stiff-backed German colleague a 
delight to all common soldiers and junior officers to 
behold. General Phillips was on his stomach, steady- 
ing his long glass on the ridge-pole; a mounted staff 
officer (Petersham, by the look of him) was standing 
in his stirrups beside the cabin, stretching to pass a 
spyglass up to Gentleman Johnny himself. 

While the generals studied the terrain to the south, 
a long line of foragers, leading their pack animals, 
filed up the road. They spread quickly out through 
the field to harvest the good grain, which would put 
energy back into the worn horses. From the roof, the 
generals could see a small portion of Gates's lines 
across the rough, broken country, cut by ravines and 
gullies, thick with woods, and checkered only spar- 
ingly with rough clearings. One of the latter reached 
over the top of a small wooded hill that rose out of a 


ravine beyond the brook at the southern extremity of 
the wheatfield. The generals were still on their roof- 
top when a gun team came up over the crest of the 
hill and into the clearing. It was followed by another, 
to its left, then two more. As one, the generals im- 
mediately swung their telescopes to take into focus 
this new development on their front. Phillips's cen- 
tered on a young officer in blue and red standing 
with his back to the British, an arm raised as a 
marker to the gun crew, dragging a gun with dif- 
ficulty around the stumps and through the brush of 
the rough clearing. Phillips was straining for a good 
look at the gun itself in an attempt to judge its exact 
size it was small when musket fire broke out at 
the southern end of the wheatfield. The foragers were 
now running back to the safety of the infantry line, 
which along its whole length was rising to its feet. 
They were calling to him from below when General 
Phillips snapped his telescope shut, slipped down the 
back of the cedar-shingled roof, and dropped to the 

The gunner officer the British generals had watched 
as he expertly positioned his piece was Lieutenant 
Ebenezer Mattoon of the Continental Artillery. The 
range was long for real effect with his small caliber 
guns, but the target was clear as he opened fire on 
the long line of enemy infantry. He saw that his shells 
were falling short of their target, and he was at the 
breech of his number-one gun, attempting to coax a 
little more elevation out of it, when the heavy British 


round shot struck down the hill in front of him and 
went screaming over his head in a wild, terrifying 
ricochet. The ball from Major Williams's second 
12-pounder rumbled through the air, high over the 
hill where Mattoon had placed his battery on the for- 
ward slope, and his limbers and ammunition wagons 
out of sight behind the crest. Lieutenant Mattoon 
had already spotted the other British guns, set up in 
batteries of pairs behind Burgoyne's line. Now he saw 
that they were coming into action against him in 
counter-battery fire. The Continental gunner called 
up his limbers and abandoned his position before the 
full force of the enemy cannonade could fall on it. 
Safely in the shelter of the woods, the American bat- 
tery came into the forming-up area of General 
Learned's brigade, where Mattoon found Lieutenant 
McLane and the rest of the guns of Captain Furni- 
vaTs company. He joined them in a march that 
skirted to the west of his hilltop clearing and was 
aimed for the edge of the woods at the bottom of 
the ravine, facing the blue-coated Germans in the 
center of the British line. 

Learned's brigade had been the last to march out 
from the American position on Bemis Heights. When 
the Yankee picquets reported that the British were 
preparing to come out, General Lincoln had gone 
forward to estimate the situation. Benedict Arnold 
rode with him to the lookout point. Together, they 
had then ridden to Gates's headquarters tent, and 
Gates had interrupted his work to come out and re- 
ceive Lincoln's report; Arnold he snubbed. On Gen- 


eral Lincoln's recommendation, Horatio Gates or- 
dered Morgan's corps out at once, to make a wide 
march to the west, then to the north, to fall on the 
British right and "begin the game.** Drums were 
beating the call to arms for Poor's Continentals to 
attack Burgoyne's left. As he led out his guns up the 
road to the Freeman farm, Mattoon caught a glimpse 
of the last of Morgan's riflemen disappearing into 
the woods. He was to support the skirmish line, sent 
to hold the enemy's center until Learned's brigade 
could be assembled for the main attack. He saw 
Arnold, looking like the cocked hammer of a dueling 
pistol. He was riding aimlessly about on his big 
chestnut horse with the flowing black mane. Mattoon 
did not see Gates go back into his tent to resume 
his interrupted work. 

Although it had been intended that Dan Morgan 
was to "begin the game," he had a long route around, 
over rough country, and Poor's brigade made the 
first contact with Acland's grenadiers, on Burgoyne's 
extreme left. Probing about through the woods on 
the east side of the road, Poor's men encountered 
the extension of the grenadiers' line. A fire-fight 
began, with the Yankees aiming at individual men in 
red, while the solid ranks of grenadiers, broken by 
the gray tree trunks, poured volleys among the figures 
they dimly saw, down the hill from them, among the 
thicker undergrowth near the water course. Another 
regiment of Poor's brigade, Joseph Cifley's 1st New 
Hampshire Continentals, entered the action, and the 
fight with the grenadiers was carried out into the 


road and into the wheatfield beyond. Now the whole 
line of grenadiers was firing by company volley and 
was accepting heavy casualties. But Acland, standing 
between two of the companies, noted a hesitance in 
the advance of Cilley's men. He took this as an op- 
portunity to charge, and gave the order to fix bayo- 
nets. Bayonet sockets clicked home over the hot 
muzzles of the muskets, and as the officers, with 
drawn swords, took their places out in front, the ranks 
of British, grenadiers straightened and seemed to 
grow taller as they readied for the charge. Cilley's 
men halted where they stood. But it was less in awe 
of the threatened bayonet attack by Europe's most 
famous infantry, than in wonder that men would 
stand so, in the open, such easy targets to the muzzles 
of the Continental line. Quickly, the New Hampshire 
men brought their weapons to their shoulders, their 
eyes running down the long gun barrels to the front 
sights, comfortably fitting the V-sights near the 
breech. Beyond, at flat range, they could see ruddy 
faces under bearskin caps, white over-belts crossing 
over stained and worn lapels. Some saw the crimson 
sashes slashing across the white coats of officers as 
they pressed on the triggers of their muskets. All 
Time was compressed into the interminable minute 
of sighting. Then the muskets began to fire, and the 
slowest marksman noted that the man on either side 
of him was reloading, and hurried his shot before the 
smoke drifted in front of him so that he could not see 
if he had made a hit. Colonel Cilley was shouting as 
his men fired, and other firing was coming from the 
woods on his right. 


Major Acland went down during the long fusilade 
of the New Harnpshiremen. Although fat Captain 
Simpson was a good target, he had not been hit. A 
man of great strength, he was able to pick up his 
major and carry him on his back, out of the trodden 
wheat. The whole line of British grenadiers was giv- 
ing way before the Continentals, who, as they fired, 
moved forward out of their own smoke to fire again. 
At the edge of the woods the remaining British 
officers checked the men, but no amount of effort 
could get them to move out to renew the fight, nor 
were there enough of Burgoyne's elite grenadiers left 
to mount a bayonet charge. Acland's command had 
ceased to exist, and the survivors could but watch as 
Cilley's men veered slightly to the west to overrun 
Major Williams and his two la-pounders. They saw 
the big rebel colonel climb up onto one of the pieces, 
and but for the noise of the battle over the spur 
of ground where the Germans were fighting they 
could have heard the Yankee officer yelling and 
whooping and cheering, as more and more of Poor's 
brigade emerged from the woods. 

The battle had gone no better for the British on 
their right. Morgan's riflemen had quickly driven in 
Captain Alexander Eraser's marksmen. With the 
same wild abandon they had shown on 19 September, 
Morgan's rangers hurled themselves at Balcarres's 
light infantry. Showing perfect discipline under firm, 
clear orders, the British light infantry shifted their 
front to meet the attack from the west. Balcarres 
marked the extent of Morgan's attack by the now- 
familiar call of the wild turkey. Somewhere behind 


Ids own shifting line, a bugler mocked the call with 
a "Tally Ho!" on his curled French horn. The attack 
of Dearborn's light infantry fell unexpectedly on 
Balcarres's new left flank. Henry Dearborn's men 
came in hard and strong. Caught, the earl withdrew 
his whole command to the rail fence, and, from its 
protection, reorganized his firing line, which held 
Morgan and Dearborn at the edge of the woods. 

General Burgoyne's messenger at last found Bal- 
carres and gave him the general's orders to disengage 
and return to the redoubt. By ones and twos, the light 
infantrymen fired; then they retired in good order, 
trailing their muskets as they stepped lightly down 
the forest track. 

The messenger, sent to the left flank with the 
same message, and then to the Germans in the center, 
was Sir Francis Carr Clarke. Setting off at a fast 
canter, he rode through the wheat, passing behind 
the gun line, as both Pausch's battery and the 
howitzers were in action. Smoke obscured the gentle 
rise over which Major Acland had formed up his 
grenadiers, and where the afternoon's action had 
begun. One of Major Williams's 12-pounders that 
had been silent for a time now fired. With the sound 
of the gun as a reference point, Sir Francis gave his 
horse its head, and at a pounding gallop, plunged 
into the smoke with his vital message. Too late, he 
realized that he had ridden onto the ground taken 
from Acland by Poor's brigade. The Guards officer 
had no time to cry out "Surrender!" before a musket 
shot at close range took him in the body, jerked 


out of the saddle, and slammed him on the ground. 
Rough hands pulled him, still dazed and wondering, 
to his feet, and with a strange soldier helping him on 
either side, he dimly sensed that he was miming and 
stumbling down a hill. Somewhere in the confusion 
of his mind, Sir Francis Carr Clarke knew that he had 
been wounded, and that he was running in the wrong 

Unaware that Acland's left wing had been driven 
in and that Williams's guns had been turned on the 
beaten grenadiers, in ignorance of Burgoyne's new 
order to retire, which the light infantry and the 24th 
Foot on the right flank were already following, the 
five hundred men of the German contingent stood 
where they had been placed. Some protection from 
the fire of the rebel skirmishers was afforded them 
by the rail fence behind which they stood, and 
through which their own Jiigers were returning the 
enemy fire. At the left of their line, Captain Pausch 
was keeping up a steady fire along the edge of the 
woods. He was taking casualties among his gun 
crews, so when Lieutenant William Smith, bloody 
and excited, rushed up to him, demanding ten gun- 
ners to return the 12-pounders to action, Pausch 
refused. He was brusque with the wounded young 
officer, who seemed to have forgotten that the three 
to one rate of fire of a 6-pounder made it that much 
more valuable in the type of open fight that was de- 

The Americans had now brought up their own 
guns. The big puffs of white smoke rolling out from 


under the trees betrayed their position. They were 
Mattoon's and McKay's light batteries, firing canister 
at a telling range. Under the close support of their 
guns and disregarding Pausch's fire, Learned's regi- 
ments of Massachusetts Continentals were forming 
up for a charge. Slowly, they advanced across the 
bed of the dry brook and on up the gentle slope to- 
ward the waiting Germans. Gunsmoke rolled over 
the field between the advancing and the stationary 
lines of soldiers. When the smoke lifted, the rebels 
had halted and in places were giving ground. In- 
stantly, Colonel von Spaeth was up over the fence, 
shouting for a counter-attack. Driven by their officers, 
the men came out. But, though the officers kicked 
and shouted and beat the men with swords, the Ger- 
man line would not take ranks. Instead, it wadded 
itself into a milling mass of stubborn and frightened 
men terrified to go on toward the enemy, and 
frightened to go back, where their own snarling of- 
ficers menaced them with brutal authority. In the 
quick moment of indecision, German discipline fal- 
tered and the invincible hand of confidence fell upon 
the shoulders of Learned's Continentals. It sent the 
Americans running for the rail fence, and before the 
onslaught of the hoarsely shouting Massachusetts 
men the Brunswickers and Hessians stampeded. 

Of all General Burgoyne's reconnaissance force, 
only Pausch's two guns remained in action on the 
field. With his gun numbers still working with pre- 
cision under the old veteran's tight hand, the Hesse- 
Hanau artillery was preparing for a fight to the 


muzzle. Discipline kept the gunners at their station; 
tradition kept the old captain from abandoning his 
sacred guns while they could still fire a shot. And it 
was tradition and discipline and loyalty that ulti- 
mately saved them. Out from the trees at the north- 
ern end of the wheatfield the limbers came at a 
gallop, the quirts of the drivers flaying their teams. 
Down the hill they came, swinging wide through 
the field in a curve cut to bring each limber close to 
the trail of its gun. The gun crews fired, to clear their 
guns with a parting shot, hooked up quickly, and as 
the drivers slashed down at their off-horses, they 
grabbed a stirrup leather and ran free and wild, in 
great bounds, beside the running horses. 

At the log cabin, which less than an hour before 
had borne upon its roof four British generals, Captain 
Pausch unlimbered for another stand. Learned's 
brigade was reforming at the rail fence, which they 
were pulling to pieces to make a way through for 
Mattoon's guns. Coming up from out of the woods 
behind them was a fresh regiment, still marching in 
column of route, led by a senior officer in full uni- 
form, riding a big chestnut horse. Some men of Poor's 
brigade, to the east, had drifted over and were poking 
about among the Hesse-Hanau dead at Pausch's old 
gun position down the hill, where the wheel tracks 
through the wheat came to an end. 

In the woods behind the cabin, Pausch could find 
no line of resistance forming up. There were still 
plenty of German soldiers, but they were individuals, 
some of them without weapons, who, recognizing him 


as an officer, skulked away into the bush as he ap- 
proached them or called out to them. Without an 
infantry line to support, it was foolhardy to stand 
with the guns and waste such good men as remained 
to him. Pausch ordered up the limbers, hooked up 
again, and continued his retreat with honor, down the 
narrow track through the woods. He followed it east- 
ward toward the Freeman's farm road and the re- 
doubt, but he did not get far down the crooked, 
narrow trail. Saplings snarled the wheels, stumps 
seemed to rise up from the ground to foul the axle- 
trees, and when the gunners rushed forward to clear 
them, the standing horses grew fractious under the 
taut reins held by uneasy drivers. Rifle fire was draw- 
ing nearer, as Morgan's men infiltrated the woods. 
The end of Pausch's guns came when a hidden rifle- 
man shot a wheel horse in the leading gun's team. 
Its driver leaped free, but the lead team took fright 
and bolted, dragging the squealing beast with it for 
a few feet, until all ended in a hopeless tangle of 
horses, harness, limber, and gun. More rifle fire broke 
out, now aimed at the horses, and Pausch and his 
gunners ran. The old captain rested for a time be- 
hind a rail fence, trying to catch his breath. It was 
then that he saw one of his ammunition wagons, 
abandoned, its team quietly nibbling among the 
leaves on the ground. Almost gratefully, Pausch 
climbed up onto the driver's seat, and with one of 
his gunners beside him, drove off. At least he had 
saved something of his pride. 
At the eastern corner of the wheatfield, where the 


road from Neilsoris farm entered the wood on the 
north side of the field, Simon Fraser was making his 
last stand. He had found his own regiment (the 
24th) intact, its morale still high, retiring under or- 
ders with Balcarre's light infantry. He had led the 
men out onto the corner of the field, and, sitting high 
and proud on his gray horse, had watched while the 
rest of the reconnaissance force passed around be- 
hind him, bound for the redoubts. The Yankees, too, 
were keeping their distance, though rifle fire was 
chipping into the solid wall of the company fronts. 
Suddenly, the American rifle fire concentrated on the 
conspicuous General Fraser. A ball creased the crup- 
pers of the gray horse. For a moment the animal 
danced in surprised pain, then Fraser quieted him. 
The riflemen held their fire. Once more, horse and 
rider were motionless. A second ball passed through 
the horse's mane, then a third took the general in the 
stomach, doubling him over as though he were exe- 
cuting an awkward bow from the saddle. Soldiers 
rushed to steady the stricken officer before he fell. An 
aide leaped to the bridle, and before the general 
could protest, led horse and rider away. With two 
men to hold him in the saddle, and the aide leading 
his horse, Fraser began the long, agonizing ride to the 
hospital, far away on the banks of the Hudson. 

For a short distance, Gentleman Johnny rode be- 
side his wounded friend. Behind them followed the 
24th Foot. The reconnaissance in force was at an end. 
Burgoyne turned off at the Balcarres redoubt, to 
organize its defenses for the rebels were following 


closely behind the rear guard. General Fraser rode 
on, one of a long line of wounded men finding their 
way through the late afternoon shadows to the camp 
beside the river. 

Heavy firing could be heard inland at the redoubts, 
as the two soldiers eased the wounded general from 
the blood-flecked gray horse. They carried Simon 
Fraser into the cool, quiet darkness of Baroness 
Biedesers new house, and there, on the table at which 
he had been invited to dine, they gently laid him 


Prisoners of Hope 

The sorely wounded Sir Francis Carr Clarke found 
himself in the most unusual situation for a prisoner of 
war, of all the distinguished British officers captured 
on 7 October. Major Acland, who had been overrun 
while helpless in the angle of the rail fence, was cared 
for with proper consideration. Captain Money and 
Major Williams, being less seriously wounded, were 
held politely but firmly by the American provost 
guard. But Burgoyne's knighted aide came to rest in 
Horatio Gates's own camp bed, with the rebel gen- 
eral giving him as much attention as did the head- 
quarters physician. 

While Gates was occupied with his august prisoner, 
Benedict Arnold escaped the restraint of his virtual 
arrest. He had gone forth to fight with the men of his 
old division. Arnold had ridden forward with the last 
regiment of Leanaed's brigade, and by going up to 
the firing-line had put himself beyond reach of the 
exquisite aide sent by Gates to fetch him back. 

Arnold, whose enemies referred to him as a "horse 
jockey/* rode extremely well. He had need of his skill, 


as he brought his big red horse pounding after 
Learned's leading regiments, up the hill and through 
the wheat. The bodies of the dead first those of the 
Americans and then of the Germans and the 
wounded of both sides caused the big animal to start, 
leap, and swerve. But Arnold's strong hands and self- 
possession quieted the nervous horse into a useful 

The charge over the rail fence had hardly ended 
and the last of Burgoyne's men had just retired under 
the rear-guard action of Eraser's 24th Foot when 
Arnold rode over the field. He was cheered by the 
regiment, and he was seen reining in for an instant 
to shout a gay word to a company officer, or to com- 
mend a flush-faced colonel. At a time when the ela- 
tion of victory might well have dampened to the 
flaccid content of physical exhaustion, Benedict Ar- 
nold spread his own unquenched lust for battle over 
all the well-won field. Soldiers stopped their aimless 
looting of the enemy dead and ran back to their 
officers. Drummers beat the call, and colonels shouted 
the rallying cry of their commands. The haphazard 
fire of Morgan's riflemen and the marksmen of regi- 
ments concentrated and held on the old British gen- 
eral mounted on his handsome gray horse. The 
Americans saw him sag in his saddle, and they saw 
him led away. Many a Yankee claimed that shot! 
The noisy Irishman, Tim Murphy, vowed it was his 
own. So did an old man in a full-bottomed wig and 
a greasy big hat, with a long-barreled musket which, 
according to his claim, had never been known to miss. 


Arnold was not there to see the shooting of General 
Fraser. He was off to the captured 12-pounders, 
where Morgan and Poor and Learned had gathered 
at his summons. The three leaders, whose measured 
blows one, two, three had beaten out the shape 
of the British defeat, now turned expectantly to the 
former division commander for the plan to complete 
the afternoon's success. Benedict Arnold's order was 
simple: "Follow me!" 

General Gates's aide, Major John Armstrong, also 
followed Arnold, but he trailed along at a distance, 
contentedly busy as he snuffled at the cold track 
through the wheatfield, at the cabin door, and in the 
angles of the rail fence, while Poor's and Learned's 
men streamed down the road in the direction of the 
British redoubts, and Morgan's corps re-entered the 
enveloping forest. The hesitant major was prowling 
through the shambles of the abandoned gun batteries 
as the New York militia of Abram Ten Broeck's bri- 
gade hurried past. For the most part they were Al- 
bany County Dutchmen, who marched loosely in vil- 
lage groups or together with their neighbors of the 
valley. They were untried troops, though there were 
some who had fought with Herkimer, and others who 
had been with Arnold on the road to Fort Stanwix. 
The latter, as they marched across the clearing and 
down the road the Continentals had traveled before 
them, looked with interest at the British dead. The 
green men looked away as they came past where 
Acland's big grenadiers lay huddled all around. From 
the walking wounded, Ten Broeck's men knew that 


Arnold had gone ahead; from the sound of firing 
further on, they knew where they would find him. 

Lieutenant General Burgoyne himself commanded 
in the Balcarres redoubt, where the outflanked, out- 
numbered, overwhelmed remnant of the reconnais- 
sance in force had now reformed. Gentleman Johnny 
had been lucky. A horse had been shot from under 
him, his waistcoat had been ripped by a rifle ball, 
and at one point during the battle at the wheatfield 
he had been obliged to remove his hat and rearrange 
the plume cut by an aimed shot. Everyone had been 
under fire in the clearing. Behind the walls of the 
redoubt the soldiers would have shelter, and beyond 
the loopholes and the gun embrasures lay a clear field 
of fire over open ground. The woods were a long rifle- 
shot away. In front of the redoubt, two small earth- 
and-log barricades were positioned to cover some 
dead ground beyond an outcropping of gray rock. 
Into the southern and larger of these barricades, the 
Earl of Balcarres had gone with his light infantry 
and a complement of cannon. The men were com- 
posed as they leaned against the log walls of their 
barricade, occasionally interrupting their talk to peer 
through the loopholes in which their muskets lay. A 
gunner sergeant blew softly on his slow match and 
watched the glow as it brightened. 

The sun was dropping quickly toward the undulat- 
ing line of the tree-tops. Black shadows, gathering in 
the deep spaces between the marginal trunks of the 
trees, spilled out onto the clearing. The British 


watched the approaching dusk and awaited the com- 
ing of the enemy. 

Suddenly the enemy was there, dark figures run- 
ning out from the sheltering shadows into the reveal- 
ing light of the cleared field. As if startled, the British 
guns roared and pranced back on their wheeled car- 
riages. The guns fired again. A light infantryman saw 
his chosen target drop his musket and fall into the 
low scrub. Balcarres's man selected another Yankee, 
waited for him to come within range, and fired. 

Once triggered, the fire from the British field works 
became measured and purposeful. The artillerymen, 
loading, aiming, firing to a long-rehearsed rhythm, 
beat out their bass note in a recurring sequence of 
emphasis; the musket fire quickened or slackened 
according to the near or distant approach of the 
attacking rebel infantry. 

The first rush had carried the American charge up 
and into the British abatis. For a moment, the attack 
had hung there while the Yankee soldiers furiously 
wrenched and clawed and pulled at the mesh of 
branches that kept them from the raw-faced walls of 
earth and logs beyond. Then the British fire had 
driven the Continentals away, into fire positions in 
the scrub, among the stumps, or wherever a slight 
fold of the ground offered shelter in concealment. All 
up and down the long, twisting line of the Balcarres 
redoubt, small American attacks were now develop- 
ing. Out of the Yankee firing line, a group of shout- 
ing men would rise up and charge forward in a new 
attempt to come to grips with the enemy beyond the 


abatis. Each time a group came on the British or the 
Germans at the threatened part of the redoubt would 
drive them back. As the battle developed into a long 
fire-fight, a pattern in the local attacks became appar- 
ent. First, the British at the loopholes would see an 
American officer gallop up on a big, chestnut horse; 
the Yankees would rise slowly out of their hiding 
pkces surrounding the figure astride the prancing 
horse; then they would charge. By the time the at- 
tack had been beaten back, the big horse was far 
down the line, and wherever he was, another charge 
could be expected. 

But even the fury of Benedict Arnold (who was the 
mounted figure) could not lift up the whole Conti- 
nental line and hurl it forward en masse. The sun 
was down, the day was dying, and the passing min- 
utes were sliding the balance of victory over to the 
side of the defense. 

Then Arnold, changeable, unpredictable, never 
constant, totally unreliable but instinctive in battle, 
abandoned the frontal attack on the Balcarres re- 
doubt He left his own troops in their fire positions 
and he left the British at their loopholes, their guns 
agape at the embrasures. He was off and away on the 
impulse of a new idea. In his urgency, the fact that 
the direct way to his new objective the Breymann 
redoubt was across the front of the two firing-lines, 
was of no consequence. He gave spur to his chestnut 
horse. American marksmen withheld their fire as the 
swarthy major general galloped by in front of their 
leveled pieces. British and German infantrymen for- 


got to shoot, as they watched the horse with the flow- 
ing black mane and tail dash past them. 

It was almost a mile to the American left, where 
fresh regiments were coming onto the field. Un- 
scathed, Arnold reined in at the head of the Massa- 
chusetts regiment, where Lieutenant Colonel John 
Brooks was waiting for orders. Arnold did not tarry 
long. He made a sweeping motion of his arm in the 
direction of the two log houses in the gap between 
the two redoubts, Brooks and his men understood 
their orders. A touch of the spurs and again Benedict 
Arnold was away, to meet the militiamen of Ten 
Broeck's brigade, who were running toward him from 
the west. Here, too, there was no need for words. 
Arnold had but to wheel his mount to draw the whole 
brigade after him in a march, the direction of which 
would turn the open end of Breymann's log redoubt. 
The big horse was walking now, to allow the foot 
soldiers to catch up with him. Many of them reached 
out to touch Arnold's stirrup as they hurried by, and, 
looking down at them, he saw that some of Dear- 
born's and Morgan's men had joined him for the final 
assault. From all over the field they came to him: men 
in buckskin and in civilian clothes, boys with their 
fathers* hunting guns, old men with muskets as old 
as their fathers before them. Even a dog joined the 
parade. He came out of the cabins from which Bur- 
goyne's Canadian troops were now fleeing. Although 
the boy, Monin, tried to call him back, he was ir- 
resistibly drawn by the shouting Yankees. 

Within the redoubt. Colonel Heinrich Breymann 


was in a frenzy. His men had grown sullen as the acid 
of their fear ate into the core of their discipline. There 
was little firing over the log wall at the oncoming 
mass of rebels; the grenadiers were watching over 
their shoulders for a chance to cut and run. One man 
did run, but Breymann, snarling like a Hartz Moun- 
tain cat, slashed viciously at him with his sword. 

The rebels had passed the open southern end of the 
redoubt and were slanting in on the German flank 
and rear when Breymann's grenadiers broke. The 
raging colonel stood, his legs apart, cutting and jab- 
bing at his own men. In the rush for safety, he struck 
three of them; a fourth, a big man with waxed mus- 
taches and a mad look of panic in his wide blue eyes, 
shot Breymann dead, then calmly turned to meet the 
enemy now entering the works. For a wild moment it 
was hand to hand, clubbed gun against bayonet, 
sword against musket. In the center of the melee, the 
big chestnut war horse stamped and slashed with his 
hooves, as the rider on his back shouted and 
whooped. A wounded German on the ground saw the 
great beast bearing down on where he lay. The man's 
gun was still unfired. He raised it, aimed at the wide 
red chest and let loose the charge. It pierced the 
animal's great heart. 

Arnold felt the horse go slack between his knees. 
He kicked free of one stirrup, but the leg wounded 
and then broken at Quebec was awkward. On it fell 
the dead weight of the horse. Once more, Benedict 
Arnold had broken his leg. 

It was all over in the Breymann redoubt. Amer- 


leans guarding them, a long line of Hessian prison- 
ers sat, their backs to the wall that they had built. 
The Yankees had rolled the dead horse from their 
general's leg, and, having given his orders, Arnold was 
resting. It was almost dark. The salmon-colored sun- 
set glow was fading quickly. Breymann's redoubt was 
firmly in American hands. Burgoyne's whole defense 
line had been turned. 

It was then, and in such circumstances, that Gates's 
aide, Major John Armstrong, at last caught up with 
Benedict Arnold. He had been too late to prevent 
Arnold from acting "rashly/" Only the last part of 
Gates's orders to him remained to be carried out. 
Standing before the wounded and prostrate hero gen- 
eral, the bright boy aide requested Arnold to put him- 
self under the major's escort, to be returned to his 
quarters at once. Arnold complied and so left the 
field of his battle, borne on a litter high on the shoul- 
ders of four of his veterans. 

With the coming of darkness all musket and can- 
non fire ceased. In front of the Balcarres redoubt, 
Private Soldier Ephraim Squier sat up, put his back 
against the white birch stump which, for the duration 
of the fire fight, had been his fortress, and waited for 
the sergeant to come and tell him what to do next. 
Ephraim was tired. As he figured it, the Continental 
Army owed him a full night's sleep. The night before 
Monday night he had been one of a patrol 
whose leader got lost and did not bring the men in 
until ten o'clock in the morning. Sunday night, 


Ephraim had stood the middle guard. On Sunday 
he had heard the parson preach from the text, "Re- 
turn to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope." On 
Tuesday the British and their hirelings certainly had 
returned to their stronghold! The sergeant, calling 
the company in a low-pitched voice, roused Ephraim 
from his reverie. Stiffly he levered himself up from 
his stump and shuffled off toward the voice he hoped 
would lead him back to Fort Neilson and his blankets. 

There was no sleep that night for William Digby, 
At first dark, carrying a lantern, he had searched the 
Balcarres redoubt for the scattered remnants of the 
company of grenadiers, which, since the death of 
Captain Wight in the wheatfield, Digby had com- 
manded. Of the twenty men who had marched out 
that afternoon, he could find only four. He knew that 
there were others : some wounded who might recover, 
some sick who would return, and a few who had been 
left out of the battle for valid reasons of administra- 
tion, were still on the rolls of the company. But for 
duty that night of 7 October, Lieutenant Digby had 
but four men out of the fifty who had sailed so gaily 
up Lake Champlain only three months before. Dig- 
by's succession through survival scarcely seemed a 

The duties of seniority, however, kept him up late. 
He had organized his command, set guards (like a 
sergeant), sought food and water for his men, 
searched without success for a commander of grena- 
diers in Major Acland's stead, and finally had re- 
ported to Balcarres, the new commander of the ad- 


vance corps. If Digby had hoped for a few hours* 
sleep, he was quickly disabused of the notion, Bal- 
carres had just returned from General Burgoyne, with 
serious news and urgent orders. 

When John Burgoyne had received no report from 
Colonel Breymann as to the light firing heard from 
his key redoubt, a contact patrol had been sent out 
at dusk. It returned with the news that, not only had 
the Brunswick colonel been killed and his grenadiers 
captured, but that the Yankees, who now held the 
redoubt in force, were bringing up their own cannon 
to add to the three pieces taken in the works from 
the Hessian gunners there. The loss of two hundred 
additional men was a blow to Burgoyne, but the loss 
of the vital corner of the defense line was cata- 
strophic. In the morning, a bombardment followed 
by an attack such as had been seen on the yth would 
roll up the Balcarres redoubt like a map. Disheveled, 
gaunt, and in the lantern light looking all of his fifty- 
five years, Lieutenant General Burgoyne gave the 
order to evacuate the Balcarres redoubt. 

It was one o'clock in the morning of 8 October be- 
fore the retreat to the new position on the heights 
above the hospital could begin. Horses had to be sent 
up from the camp beside the river to draw off guns 
and their ammunition and the wagons with the tents. 
Tending a watch fire, kept to deceive the Yankees in 
Breymann's old redoubt, Digby heard his own men, 
and the other Britishers, mutter as the German in- 
fantry marched out first Silent and chastened, the 
blue-coated soldiers quick-marched past their red- 


coated comrades. His head held high, Captain 
Pausch, who had fought the good fight, stamped 
off at the head of his proud gunners. 

It was the dark before the dawn when the Earl of 
Balcarres entered the gully behind his redoubt, and 
the last of General Burgoyne's army quit Freeman's 


The Highland Lament 

Only three hours of the night remained when the 
surgeon who was attending General Fraser crossed 
the room to speak to Baroness Riedesel. She was sit- 
ting bolt upright on a bench with her small daughters 
sleeping beside her. The surgeon told her that, de- 
spite all efforts to save him, the general was dying. 
The baroness roused her children and was attempting 
to slip quietly out of the room when Fraser himself 
spoke to her. He apologized for the inconvenience he 
was causing. Friederika Riedesel spent the rest of 
the night sitting on the floor of the corridor, while 
her children slept peacefully nearby. 

The old Highlander had prided himself on his 
mastery of the difficult military maneuver of with- 
drawal and retreat. The British army during the 
hours and days following his funeral was in sore need 
of General Fraser. Burgoyne had given the order for 
a general retreat to Saratoga to Fort Edward 
down Lake George to Ticonderoga: a sixty-mile 
climb back down the ladder of his success, without 
pause on the rungs of his delays. 


John Burgoyne was the dashing cavalryman of the 
"hell-f or-leather" charge, the gambler who always ex- 
pected his high cards to win, the politician in debate 
who was always impatient to make his rebuttal. He 
saw no glory or merit in retreat, however bold or reck- 
less, from an unbreached wall. To discard a court 
card was dishonorable, even though such a move 
might develop a whole line of lesser trumps, and, in 
debate, to concede was to admit defeat. Now, Bur- 
goyne had no plan for retreat. He had only the hope 
that his luck would turn and that he could yet reach 

A few necessary preparations were made, however, 
during the daylight hours of 8 October. At the British 
camp, carts and boats lay, as on any other day, under 
the watchful scrutiny of rebel scouts on the east side 
of the Hudson River. The increased activity around 
the hospital, where the surgeons worked to prepare 
the sick and wounded for the Yankees to whose care 
they must be left, could well be attributed to the 
previous day's battle. The guns could not yet be re- 
moved from the redoubts, as a renewed American 
attack was expected, even hoped for, by the British 
troops imbued with their general's infectious deter- 
mination. Only the men of the fighting regiments, by 
resting quietly behind their strong redoubts, could 
prepare for the secret night retirement. 

During the morning there was a general alarm, 
when the tired, underfed troops stood to and watched 
the Americans deploy in front of their lines on the 
flat river plain. But the guns and howitzers of the 


Royal Artillery kept the Yankees at their distance, 
while the foot soldiers, wrapped in the blanket of 
near exhaustion, resumed their interrupted sleep. 

In a hiding place that he had made beyond the 
picquet post, a Jdger private, alert because of the 
danger in which he found himself, caught a glimpse 
of blue and buff among the trees, a long rifle-shot 
away. As a huntsman on the ducal estate, the Jdger 
had often watched the wild boars drifting, ghost-like, 
through the forest. Now he raised his rifle, waiting 
for his quarry again to expose himself. In the instant 
before pulling the trigger, he saw the biggest and 
fattest man to come before his eyes since last he had 
seen His Grace's baker, at home in Wiilfenbutl. In 
the German's aimed shot General Fraser was 

Major General Benjamin Lincoln took the Jdger 
bullet in his leg. Though not fatal, the wound seri- 
ously affected the future course of the American cam- 
paign. In immobilizing the great bulk of the man, it 
removed the weighty influence of the general. Benja- 
min Lincoln's value as a soldier had been proven on 
the northern frontier under both Schuyler and Gates. 
He it was who had roused the militia, who had pla- 
cated John Stark sufficiently to prevent his returning 
home; he had organized the telling raid on Fort Ti- 
conderoga, leaving it be carried out by men more 
agile than himself. During the action of 19 September 
Lincoln had been in Vermont, but he soon returned 
to keep his level head, and his command of the right 
wing of the Continental Army and of the militia, 


while the Gates-Arnold controversy raged. He had 
taken Benedict Arnold with him when he went for- 
ward to estimate the situation created by Burgoyne's 
reconnaissance in force. General Gates had listened 
to his report, and at Lincoln's urgent instigation had 
sent out Morgan and the brigades of Arnold's former 
command. Although he was the only available major 
general on duty at the time, Lincoln had made no 
attempt to take over the disgraced Arnold's men for 
the battle of 7 October. He had returned to his right 
wing command, where he readied Glover's and Pat- 
terson's brigades to exploit any breakthrough that 
might be achieved on the left. 

With Lincoln down, as well as Arnold, Major Gen- 
eral Horatio Gates stood alone in the high place of 
his rank and his command. He demonstrated no need 
for a deputy; he had never sought one. None of his 
seven brigadier generals was permitted to approach 
him. Content with the working out of his own 
schemes, he remained in every way aloof. From 
Gates's headquarters, all contact forward was made 
through that "bright lad," James Wilkinson. General 
Gates saw his troops and their battles only through 
the eyes of the young lieutenant colonel and adjutant 
general, who rode here and there as he felt inclined, 
a platoon of couriers trailing him. 

Now, on 8 October, undisturbed by the bold inter- 
ruptions of Arnold or by the necessity for showing 
courtesy to the able and amenable Lincoln, Gates 
could continue with his plan for holding the diminish- 
ing British army within its contracting lines. If Bur- 


goyne retreated, as now appeared likely, Gates would 
follow, as inevitably as the cart follows the horse, into 
the marketplace of victory and reward. 

But as the day after the battle wore on, Gates was 
reminded again and again of one administrative de- 
tail which had been overlooked 7 October had 
been the beginning of a new four-day ration period. 
Because of the battle no individual issue of food had 
been made. The Americans had been sustained by the 
excitement of victory and by the anticipation of a 
second day's harrying of the British. But inaction had 
kindled fires of hunger in the soldiers deployed on the 
river plain and in the captured redoubts. Gates or- 
dered the issue of rations on 9 October, and called the 
troops back into their fieldworks so that in the day- 
long ceremony of weighing, apportioning, and re- 
cording of the rations, each man might draw the issue 
to which he was entitled. 

At sunset, when the Americans had not yet re- 
turned to their lines, a group of British soldiers was 
spotted on a hilltop, only a cannon shot away. Before 
it limbered up, a rebel battery fired on this target of 
opportunity, its round shot falling short by only a 
few yards. It was close enough to throw a shower of 
dirt and sand over the black coat of Chaplain Edward 
Brudenel. But the interruption failed to halt the flow 
of his words, nor did General Burgoyne, or Phillips, 
or Biedesel, or young Captain Alexander Fraser, raise 
his bowed head until the remains of General Simon 
Fraser had been committed, with all ceremony, to 
the grave. 


At nine o'clock on die evening of 8 October, with 
Captain Eraser's marksmen leading, the retreat o 
Burgoyne's army began. General Riedesel followed 
with his Germans. Then came the British contingent, 
with the guns and wheeled transport sandwiched in 
among the regiments. Before the rear guard, under 
Balcarres, had begun to march, Riedesel, at the head 
of the column already four miles forward on the road 
to Saratoga, received the order to halt. A light rain 
was falling when General Riedesel climbed into his 
family's calash to await the order expected mo- 
mentarily to resume the march. Three hours later, 
he awoke with a start of bewilderment which quickly 
changed to anger at his wife, who had pillowed him 
in his heavy sleep. Rain beat on the canvas cover of 
the wagon, and gusts of the northeast wind flapped 
the sodden cloth against the taut bows holding it 
away from the passengers and baggage that it pro- 
tected. Still in a rage, the general left its shelter and 
strode off through the mud to get to the bottom of the 
cause for the delay. 

The cause was all too apparent. It was visible in 
the drawn white faces of the men who sat by the 
roadside, wet and cold and seemingly heedless of 
their misery. Like the baroness herself, the German 
women were with their men, instead of at the wagons. 
They looked at him boldly, and the general's anger 
softened into indignant compassion. It was the trans- 
port which had caused the delay. Whereas the will 
of the men could be revived by encouragement, the 
dumb beasts pulling the guns and the wagons 


through the mud could only be driven until they died. 
Yet they struggled on. In one of the carts, Riedesel 
saw Major Harnage, wrapped in blankets; he had re- 
fused to be left behind. With one hand on the tail- 
gate, Mrs. Harnage walked beside the cart, smiling 
at Major General Riedesel as she passed. 

From across the Hudson River, a single shot was 
fired. It was directed at a provision bateau which, in 
its struggle upstream, had worked its way too close 
to the enemy, dogging the east bank of the river. 

At a point where grooms were holding a krge herd 
of saddle horses, Riedesel found General Burgoyne, 
who was rejecting the plea of Colonel Sutherland to 
release his regiment (the 47th) for an attack. On the 
previous day, 8 October, Sutherland had been sent 
ahead to see if the way was clear. He had reported 
that the road was unobstructed through Saratoga. 
Beyond that place, Brigadier General Fellows of the 
Massachusetts militia lay in such a loose, carelessly 
organized camp that Sutherland felt sure he could 
attack with the two hundred and fifty men left in his 
regiment and have every expectation of success. Bur- 
goyne, however, refused to detach any part of his 
force. He remained throughout the day in the rainy 
bivouac at Dovegate, and at four o'clock in the after- 
noon the march to Saratoga the first leg of the 
retreat to Ticonderoga was resumed. 

Earlier in the day a group of German soldiers had 
eluded their officers long enough to desert into the 
woods. There, without their own Indian allies to hunt 
them down like rabbits, the "hirelings" found mercy 


from the Yankees. That evening Lady Acland, too, 
quit the army. With her she took her maid, her hus- 
band's wounded valet, and, for consolation and to 
row the boat, the Reverend Edward Brudenel. The 
little party went downriver to a safe landing behind 
the American lines. Her pass from General Burgoyne 
was respected, and soon she was reunited with her 
wounded husband, whom she nursed back to health. 

The evening was still young as the head of the 
British army crossed Fish Creek and spread out into 
the old positions, made in mid-September. Scouting 
north of the old camp, Fraser's marksmen saw the last 
of Fellows's brigade splashing across the ford to the 
east bank of the Hudson. A few shots in the dark 
hurried them along. 

Burgoyne himself did not cross Fish Creek that 
night. Always reluctant to give in, he ordered three 
British regiments, tinder Brigadier Hamilton, to keep 
a bridgehead on the south side of the stream. Wea- 
rily, he then permitted himself to turn in at the gate 
of Schuyler's house. The wife of his commissary had 
preceded him, and already lamps had been lighted 
in the downstairs rooms. As Burgoyne crossed the 
threshold, a champagne cork popped with a noise like 
a pocket pistol. Gentleman Johnny headed instinc- 
tively toward the familiar sound. 

In the morning, rested and refreshed, General Bur- 
goyne moved all his troops north of the Fish Kill. 
Regretfully, he gave the order to burn down the 
graciously hospitable Schuyler house. It had to go, 
overlooking as it did the stream crossing and the 
British defensive positions on the other side. 


On 10 October General Gates finally moved out of 
his fortified camp and with his whole army went in 
pursuit of Burgoyne. During that day, Fellows's bri- 
gade held the British to the west side of the river by 
harassing fire, preventing Burgoyne's pioneers from 
building a bridge over the Hudson at the old crossing 

In the dense river fog of the autumn morning of 
11 October, Daniel Morgan and his grizzled riflemen 
crossed Fish Creek on improvised rafts, disembarking 
on the bluffs three-quarters of a mile west of the 
Hudson. To men at home among the close, solid, 
friendly trunks of great trees, the vast emptiness of 
the thick blue mist hanging over the open fields was 
a disconcerting thing. As if drawn by a magnet, their 
northward advance inclined to the west, where the 
deep woods began again. Thus they missed the 
strong redoubt where Balcarres's advance guard stood 
at arms, marking the rangers* passage by their eerie, 
though all too familiar, call of the wild turkey gob- 
bler. Nearer to the river bank, Brigadier General 
John Nixon had crossed the creek with his brigade 
of Continentals. Though a town man from near to 
Boston, Nixon, like Morgan's woodsmen, also moved 
warily through the fog. Uncertain of his true position 
and mistrusting the report that the British had gone 
on to Fort Edward, he called a halt. It was well that 
he did so, for with the rising sun the mist burned 
away to show his whole brigade under the muzzles 
of a British battery. Promptly and without hesitation, 
Nixon, in whom the keen edge of vainglory had been 
dulled on many battle grounds, brought off his bri- 


gade at a run, not stopping until lie had recrossed 
Fish Creek to its south shore. There he fell into line 
of battle beside John Glover, a Marblehead man. 
Only Ebenezer Learned sprang forward on discover- 
ing that the fog had hidden all of Burgoyne's army in 
a position of defense. As on 7 October when Benedict 
Arnold led, he sought out Morgan and prepared to 
mount a charge. He was stopped only by the arrival 
of the ubiquitous Wilkinson, who, in the name of 
General Gates, ordered him back. Reluctantly, and 
muttering strange biblical quotations, Learned with- 

Gates's artillery came up in the afternoon, and 
from positions along the line of Fish Creek began the 
bombardment of the British entrenchments. Using 
captured British bateaux as ferries, Yankee artillery- 
men moved guns and ammunition over to the east 
shore of the Hudson, where men from Fellows's com- 
mand pointed out gun sites to enfilade Burgoyne's 
camp. On 12 October, the first gun of the east-shore 
batteries fired on a house that was known to belong 
to Peter Lansing, which, from the activity surround- 
ing it, the American gunners believed to be British 
army headquarters. 

It was on that day, too, that Gates completed the 
encirclement of Burgoyne's army. Morgan shifted his 
line northward until it overlapped the British posi- 
tions on the west. Again crossing Fish Creek, Learned 
lined up to the right of the riflemen. That night, Mas- 
sachusetts men of Fellows's brigade crossed on rafts 
to the west shore of the Hudson. Pushing boldly 


westward through the darkness and rain they cut 
the forest road up the west bank of the river to Fort 
Edward, Burgoyne's only clear way to the north. 
Patrols continued westward through the sodden un- 
derbrush until they were challenged by the picquet 
of riflemen holding Morgan's suspended left flank. 
By dawn of 13 October, twelve thousand American 
guns, rifles, and muskets ringed around Burgoyne's 
scant four thousand men and bayonets. 

Since the fog had lifted on the morning of 11 Oc- 
tober, the British troops on the high ground had 
learned every angle and nook of their redoubt. They 
knew every spot where a Yankee rifleman perched 
high in a tree could reach in with his murderous small 
shot. They knew where they could crouch and where 
they could lie in reasonable safety from the American 
cannon. Men quickly grew wise in judging the sound 
of an oncoming shell, and learned by a glance at a 
distant puff of smoke whether to duck for safety or to 
continue their wretched waiting in the rain. 

Baroness Riedesel had seen the first shot fired from 
the east shore of the river. With the shrewd judgment 
of a veteran, she had guessed that it was intended for 
the Lansing house, in the cellar of which she and her 
children, with the other women, were taking refuge. 
For the remainder of the siege, the house was under 
constant and accurate bombardment, but there, in 
the vaulted arches of the cellar, she ruled as she had 
ruled in her stately Brunswick home. After thor- 
oughly fumigating the smelly quarters by burning 


vinegar there, she apportioned the available space. In 
the deepest vault she placed the wounded; the 
women she assigned to the middle room; and in the 
room from which the stairs climbed to the outer door, 
she curtained off her own corner of luxurious privacy. 

In the outer room, which she shared with Mrs. 
Harnage and Mrs. Reynell, Baroness Riedesel re- 
ceived her callers and turned away all those whom 
she deemed "skulkers." She saw but little of her hus- 
band, though he sent his aides from time to time to 
reassure her. On one such errand, Captain Willoe 
silently handed his wallet to her for safe-keeping. 
She was already holding Captain Geismar's wallet, 
with his watch and ring. One day, after a particularly 
heavy bombardment, during which those in the cellar 
could hear the cannon balls rolling across the plank 
flooring above them. Captain Green came to have 
his old wound dressed by the surgeon. Before leav- 
ing, he told the baroness that he had made arrange- 
ments with three officers, each of whom would take 
one of her children on his saddle-bow, and that, when 
the time came, a horse would be brought for her to 

At headquarters the generals were talking flight. In 
the lines the men talked of food, of a bayonet charge, 
of old campaigns: Ticonderoga, Hubbardton, Fort 
Anne, Fort Edward, even of Bennington. All these 
were now only places in the distant past. 


The World Turned Upside Down 

At all the councils of war, Major General the Baron 
Friederich von Riedesel though himself a "hire- 
ling" and his men but chattels of their respective 
dukes spoke out in favor of any plan which was 
in any way of benefit to his troops. In doing so, he 
risked incurring the disapproval of those same Dukes 
of Brunswick and of Hesse-Cassel, who stood to gain 
if their soldiers were killed, wounded, or taken pris- 
oner. Of the former, three wounded subjects equaled, 
in cash to the duke, one dead subject. Perhaps the 
baron's concern for the common soldier was the 
result of his own long years in the army, and his con- 
sequent knowledge of, and respect for, those men he 
deemed true soldiers. General Riedesel recognized 
the investment in training, experience, and loyally 
represented by the men, both British and German, 
who had fought from Ticonderoga to Freeman's 
farm, and considered them to have a greater value 
than the guns and stores. 

At the council of war held on is, October 1777, 
in the all but encircled camp at Saratoga, General 



Eiedesers views finally prevailed. His proposals were 
accepted and the necessary orders issued by General 
Burgoyne. At ten o'clock that night, guns, wagons, 
stores, boats everything but small arms were 
to be abandoned, and the men and women of the ex- 
pedition, carrying their food on pack-horses, were to 
march by the west road to Fort Edward. They were 
to fight for the crossing there, and proceed to Fort 

But at Saratoga the plan, which might have suc- 
ceeded four days earlier, no longer served its pur- 
pose. The drag of the wheeled vehicles in the rain 
and mud, and the northeast wind which had delayed 
the provision boats forcing their way up against the 
current of the river, killed all hope of the troops 
being able to save themselves. Had the delay not 
rendered the plan unfeasible, in all probability Gen- 
eral Burgoyne's hesitancy would have done so. He 
still saw his duty and loyalty in faithful adherence 
to "The Plan/' and he was honor-bound while he yet 
had guns and battalions, to hammer the enemy pend- 
ing die arrival of Sir Henry Clinton and his army, 
still confidently expected by Burgoyne. 

Even in this desperate situation John Burgoyne 
could not quit. Before the appointed hour on the 
night of 12 October he cancelled the order to retreat. 
By accepting the decision of a council of war, a com- 
mander in chief gains friendly witnesses at the in- 
evitable court of inquiry. By overriding the decision 
and going against the advice of his senior officers 
Phillips, Biedesel, Hamilton, and von Gall Gen- 


eral Burgoyne accepted full responsibility for the 

By the morning of 13 October any attempt to get 
away by the west road was futile. The road was 
dominated by Fellows's Massachusetts men, from a 
strong hill position with marshy ground in front. In 
the afternoon, Burgoyne called a general council, to 
which came the generals, the colonels, and the ma- 
jors. The captains, too, were summoned, some of 
them coming from exposed company positions, dart- 
ing across open spaces, under the watchful eyes of 
Morgan's riflemen, and crawling through under- 
brush so as not to be seen by the Yankee gunners. 
After brushing their uniforms with grimy hands and 
straightening their rumpled stocks, with some em- 
barrassment they entered the presence of their gen- 

Burgoyne rose to speak. He accepted all blame for 
the situation in which they found themselves. He 
reported frankly that there remained but five days' 
rations in all the camp. Eloquently, he cited com- 
parable examples in history of armies that had capit- 
ulated. The officers listened in silence as their general 
made his case for surrender. Then Burgoyne posed 
two questions: Would a surrender on advantageous 
terms be disgraceful? The solemn answer was an un- 
hesitating "No." Under existing circumstances was 
such a capitulation necessary? Speaking, first, as is 
the custom, the most junior captain shyly and un- 
emotionally offered his life and pledged the loyalty 
of his men in a "do or die" attack. Others followed 


his lead, and on up through the grades of ascending 
rank, General Burgoyne heard out his tribute. In the 
reaction of his officers John Burgoyne regained 
reason and found wisdom. He entered into negotia- 
tion with Horatio Gates. 

Early in the morning of 14 October a drummer in 
a yellow coat marched boldly to Fish Creek, where 
the bridge stringers still reached over to the south 
bank. He was busy for a moment as he tightened the 
soggy head of his drum. Then, posing with the tips 
of the drumsticks just touching the down on his 
upper lip, he sensed that unseen Yankees were watch- 
ing him. He beat out the parlay. 

At ten o'clock, James Wilkinson rode past the 
burned-out ruins of the Schuyler mansion, dis- 
mounted, and strode to the south end of the broken 
bridge. At the north end, a few yards away, Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Robert Kingston, Deputy Adjutant 
General and secretary to General Burgoyne, waited 
in the rain for Wilkinson's invitation to cross, which 
came with a polite gesture. Gingerly, the English- 
man crossed on the single stringer linking the two 
banks of Fish Creek. On the Yankee side, Kingston 
accepted the blindfold, and with Wilkinson leading 
him set out to open the negotiations with Gates. 

All that day and far into the night proposals 
and counter-proposals were written, exchanged, dis- 
cussed, amended, and returned. While the two staffs 
worked hard and long and late, the men of both 
armies moved about in their positions, secure under 
the terms of an armistice. 


Compromise by compromise, the negotiations 
moved toward a still-distant conclusion. Then, with 
a suddenness that startled Burgoyne into suspicion, 
Gates agreed to all of Burgoyne's requests, stipulat- 
ing only that the capitulation be signed by two 
o'clock that afternoon, Wednesday, 15 October, and 
that the British and German troops lay down their 
arms at five o'clock. Such a bullish rush was not in 
in character for the feline Gates. To Burgoyne, a 
shrewd player at cards, Gates appeared to be pushed 
from behind, like a house cat shoved out into the 
rain. Quite correctly, Burgoyne reasoned that some 
action on the part of Sir Henry Clinton was the cause 
of Gates's haste to bring the easy game of negotiation 
to a close. By every means in his considerable knowl- 
edge of the art of procrastination, Burgoyne sought 
to prolong the discussion of terms. Ever a prisoner 
of hope, with each passing hour he saw the phoenix 
of his "Thoughts for Conducting the War" rise from 
the ashes of his predicament, in the tardily kindled 
flame of Clinton's advance from Albany. 

Burgoyne's spirits soared that night when he was 
roused from sleep to interview a Tory from the lower 
Hudson. The man brought word of the capture by 
Clinton, on 8 October, of the American forts on the 
highlands. He also reported that English forces, 
which he had heard were at Esopus, only sixty miles 
below Albany, probably were now marching into 
that city. 

With this good news, General Burgoyne entered 
the council of officers that he had called for 16 


October. But the temper of the army had now 
changed, and the vote held Burgoyne in honor bound 
to continue the negotiations with Gates. Even so, 
Gentleman Johnny found one more grain of hope in 
his larder of desperation. Had Gates broken the 
armistice by sending troops from the army encircling 
the British to meet the threat of Clinton's northward 
march? If so, then Gates himself had broken off the 
negotiations. The council of officers recessed while 
representations on this point were sent to Gates. 
Truthfully the American general could answer in the 
negative. In fact, Gates had sent Colonel Peter Ganse- 
voort, from the Mohawk Valley, to contain the British 
at Esopus. It was these rebel soldiers that the Tory 
talebearer had seen on the march below Albany. 

When the council reconvened that afternoon the 
British officers again saw no legal or moral reason 
for failure to sign the surrender. While the officers 
waited, Burgoyne sought privately to sway his gen- 
erals. Phillips, eternally proud, refused comment, as 
he had done at the council before the second battle 
at Freeman's farm. Riedesel, who had been sustain- 
ing himself in his exhaustion with white wine, could 
only bemoan the lost opportunity to save such fine 
soldiers. Completely alone in all his hopes, opinions, 
and determination, Lieutenant General John Bur- 
goyne surrendered his army. With studied careless- 
ness, he threw his last card out onto the table: it was 
a deuce. Nowhere in the Articles of Agreement should 
the word "capitulation" appear; the word, "conven- 
tion" was to be used in its place. 


The British general chose the nicest of words to 
entitle the script; unexpectedly, the staging of the 
final scene was a masterpiece of tact, courtesy, and 
understanding on the part of the American general. 
The ceremonies were set for Friday, 17 October 1777. 

For the first time since the retreat had begun nine 
days earlier, the sun came out. It rose above the 
high mountains lining the Vermont horizon. It shone 
on the wide trace of the Hudson River, where red 
and gold autumn leaves, riding southward on the 
smooth, swift flowing current, caught the light. On 
the western slopes, the trunks and branches of trees 
that had been hidden by summer foliage now showed 
a silvery gray. 

The day was bright and washed and polished as 
were the British and German soldiers, forming their 
ranks in the old redoubts and behind the barricades. 
Orders were carried out with a crispness matching 
the clear October air. Closed ranks opened; the dress- 
ing was picked up with a shuffling of feet that rustled 
the dry leaves. Rows and rows and rows of straight, 
ptoud figures stood rigidly at attention while the 
officers made their slow inspection. Not much was 
left of the uniforms that four months earlier had 
looked so fine on the banks of the distant Richelieu 
River, as the royal standard had flapped lazily in 
the warm June breeze. Now, many miles away on 
the shores of the Hudson, patches were the soldiers* 
distinction, and wispy plumes that once had been 
full and luxuriant marked the fortitude of men on 


long marches down forest roads. Old muskets, their 
battered, dented stocks rubbed gleaming with oil, 
and the burnished steel of bayonets, marked the 
veterans of General Burgoyne's army as battle-tested 

It was their last parade as soldiers. Soon for the 
drums had begun to beat the men would be called 
upon to lay down the tools of their profession and to 
march away as prisoners of war. One by one, the regi- 
ments came down to the river, the red-coated British 
and the tall, blue-uniformed Germans. One by one, 
their colonels gave the order to ground arms, and 
one by one, the regiments marched off, hands swing- 
ing high to the music of the bands. There were no 
Yankees to witness the shucking of their arms and 
their pride. Only a few curious civilians watched 
from the other side of the river. It was for their bene- 
fit that the bands played "The World Turned Upside 
Down," while the tension that had been building up 
in the waiting troops eased to the sound of the ap- 
propriate and familiar tune. 

James Wilkinson could hear the sound of the music 
as, with General Burgoyne riding beside him, he ap- 
proached the Fish Creek bridge. The stamping hooves 
of their horses, and of the horses of Burgoyne's four 
generals who followed behind them, drowned out 
the saucy music as the party rode across the bridge. 
On the new side of the world, the young American 
officer and the old British general he was escorting 
caught the sound of another air. It was made by the 
harsh field music of the American Continentals, 


marching up to line the road to the tune of "Yankee 
Doodle Dandy/* squealed out by the insolent fifes. 
Once, as Wilkinson led him on, Burgoyne jerked his 
head up quickly; a wild turkey had called from a 
copse not far away. 

Half a mile from the creek, the cavalcade turned 
off the Albany road into a field where a large tent 
had been set up. In front of the tent stood a group of 
American officers. As the British approached, one of 
the Americans left the group and mounted his horse. 
Moving with slow deliberation, the British generals 
drew nearer. A few yards from the solitary mounted 
figure dressed in a simple blue uniform-coat, Bur- 
goyne reined in. Wilkinson politely made the intro- 
duction. John Burgoyne removed his plumed hat, and 
in a firm, clear voice spoke the sentence that made 
him a prisoner of war. Horatio Gates made the ap- 
propriate reply, addressing Lieutenant General Bur- 
goyne as "Your Excellency/' 

The final ceremonies of the "convention** took 
place beside the straight road to Albany. There, in a 
cleared space near the road, General Burgoyne ten- 
dered his sword to General Gates. Along the road 
the weaponless soldiers of Britain's northern army 
marched as prisoners between two silent ranks of 
solmen-faced Continentals. 

To Lieutenant Digby, striding by with all that 
remained of Acland's grenadiers, the music of their 
band, though it played their own "Grenadiers' 
March/* sounded dull and lifeless. His face was wet 
with tears as he stepped out smartly, to pass in style 


the place where Gentleman Johnny was taking the 
review beside the pudgy little man who was the 
conqueror. Company by company they came: light 
infantry, artillery, regiments of the British line, ] tigers 
in green, and stolid German infantry. The remnants 
of the 62nd passed the motionless ranks of the men 
they had met in the bitter fighting at the angle of 
the fence at Freeman's farm, a month gone by. The 
young Fraser and his moccasined rangers padded 
past the riflemen of Morgan's corps, on whom they 
had so successfully patterned themselves. The 9th of 
Foot, remembering the defile at Fort Anne, marched 
along behind its band. In the lead was Colonel Hill, 
very conscious of the sudden corpulence showing 
under his waistcoat, where his regiment's Color was 
safely (he hoped) hidden. The October sun caught 
the polished gold and silver of the mitered grena- 
diers, as they trudged woodenly along behind their 
new commander. The sun caught, too, the flourish of 
a sword blade as it cut the elaborate arc of a final 
salute to the well-loved general it had served with 
unswerving devotion. A short distance down the 
road, the company commander whose sword it was 
turned abruptly and tossed the weapon, now useless 
in his hands, to a small American boy who stood, 
wide-eyed, in the space between two Continental 


Charles Gravier, Comte de Vergennes, was foreign 
minister to Louis XVI, the young Bourbon king of 
France. Many people, however, considered him to 
be little more than a clerk, and it was as such that 
he was treated by the British ambassador to the court 
at Versailles when, on 2 September 1777, he brought 
word to the French court of Lieutenant General 
Burgoyne's capture of Fort Ticonderoga, the French- 
built "Fort Carillon." Accompanying this news was 
a demand by England that the American rebels be 
treated as outlaws, and that French ports be closed 
to the Yankee pirates and their prizes. The Brit- 
ish ambassador, Viscount Stormont, intimated that 
failure to comply with this demand might well bring 
on a formal declaration of war. 

For two months after the receipt of the news of 
Burgoyne's significant victory in the Lake Champlain 
Pass, Vergennes played the part of procrastinating 
clerk, while proving himself to be, in fact, an ac- 
complished diplomat, a crafty politician, and a mas- 
ter in the art of devious intrigue. In France, public 


opinion favored the cause of the Americans in their 
dispute with England. Since the revolt in Boston had 
spread so quickly to the other colonies in North 
America, France had sent supplies to the rebels and 
had encouraged them in every way short of declaring 
war on Britain. But in spite of increasing pressures, 
Vergennes held back from making the ultimate com- 
mitment. Actually, he was strengthening his own 
resources in military preparations and in diplomatic 
alliances, while watching for a sure sign that the 
Americans could and would hold fast to their de- 
clared independence against the armed might of 

All during September, October, and November, 
Vergennes was successful in fending off the demands 
made by the arrogant Lord Stormont, while restrain- 
ing his own ardent countrymen and following his 
monarch to Fontainebleau for hunting with the 

On 4 December 1777, the American commissioners 
brought to Vergennes's busy private bureau the sure 
sign for which he waited. General Burgoyne had 
been defeated in battle, and his whole army had 
been taken prisoner at a place called Saratoga. Two 
days later, in a note written in the king's presence 
and in the king's own apartment, Vergennes gave 
France's recognition of the new United States as a 
sovereign nation, and became that nation's ally in 
war. Scarcely waiting for the ink to dry, Louis XVI 
approved and dated the simple document which was 
to assure the victory and independence of the United 
States of America. 


In the office of King George the Third's Secretary 
of State for the American Colonies there was another 
document, as important to the emergent United 
States as was Vergennes's note of alliance and active 
participation in the war. But, unlike its French 
counterpart, the document in London was unsigned, 
undelivered, and in fact, forgotten. This was the 
promised letter from Lord George Germaine to Gen- 
eral Howe, ordering the latter up the Hudson to com- 
plete the grand design of Burgoyne's plan to sever 
in two the American colonies along the Hudson- 
Champlain Pass. 

It was bitterly cold on the March evening in 1777 
when Germaine stopped in at the Colonial Office to 
sign some letters before continuing his drive into the 
country, where he was to spend the week-end. The 
important letter he had drafted to Lord Howe was 
not yet ready in the form insisted upon by the metic- 
ulous Germaine. It was warm beside the fire in the 
Secretary's office, but it was not warm outside in the 
street where milord's coach was waiting. Always a 
considerate horseman, Germaine preferred not to 
keep his horses waiting in the cold. Besides, his blast 
of furious rage over the poorly copied letter would 
lose its effect, if he were to wait patiently while the 
clerk rewrote the slovenly work. So Lord George 
Germaine swept out of his office, his dignity and his 
scruples intact, and rode away in his fine coach. 
When he returned a few days later, he quite forgot 
to ask for the letter to Howe, and no one cared 
perhaps no one remembered to bring it to his at- 


The letter was never sent, and without any specific 
orders to co-operate with General Burgoyne, Howe 
sailed for the Chesapeake to carry out his plan for 
the capture of Philadelphia. 

In the upper Hudson River and in Lake George 
and Lake Champlain, ice forms in December in quiet 
bays and backwaters, and between Fort Ticonderoga 
and Skenesborough, where the water is shallow. On 
the mountain summits the gathering snows are white 
along the invasion road from the St. Lawrence to the 
Hudson. The long silence of winter settles over the 

By December 1777 all the armies of the long, hot, 
frenzied days of summer were gone from the north- 
ern frontier. Soon after the surrender at Saratoga, 
Clinton had fallen back on New York. Powell had 
destroyed and abandoned the British forts at Ticon- 
deroga, and had sailed to Canada. The remnant of 
Burgoyne's army was beginning its long years of 
captivity in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Even Gates's 
army had left the fields it had won. The militia had 
gone home. The tough Continentals had marched 
away to join General Washington at the grim camp 
at Valley Forge, there to watch Sir William Howe 
wintering comfortably in Philadelphia. No one was 
left at Freeman's farm, on the Walloomsac, at Fort 
Edward, Fort Anne, Skenesborough, Hubbardton, 
Ticonderoga. The softly falling snow covered the 
debris of Burgoyne's army along all the way of its 
proud march from British Canada to Saratoga, in 
New York State. 


of Lieutenant General John Burgoyne's Campaign 
of 1777 and of events relating to that campaign. 

6 May General Burgoyne arrives in Canada. 

13 June Invasion army sets out from St. Jean. 

20 June Burgoyne's proclamation to the Americans. 

21 June Burgoyne's conference with the Indians. 
1 July Siege of the forts at Ticonderoga begins. 

5 July British guns arrive on Sugar Loaf, and the 

Americans evacuate Fort Ticonderoga and 
Mount Independence. 

6 July British army occupies the forts and Skenes- 


7 July Battle on Hubbardton road. 

8 July Battle near Fort Anne. 

Z 3 Juty" General Howe with the main British army 
leaves New York by sea for Chesapeake Bay. 

a 7 J^y Murder of Jane McCrea. 

30 July Burgoyne's army established on the Hudson 
River at Fort Edward. 


6 August Battle of Oriskany. 

9 August British army advances to the Batten Kill. 

16 August Baum's and Breymann's battles along the 

Walloomsac River on the road to Benning- 

23 August Colonel St. Leger raises his siege of Fort 

11 September Howe wins the Battle of Brandywine, Penn- 

13 September Burgoyne crosses to the west bank of the 
Hudson at Saratoga. 

18 September General Lincoln's raid on the British-held 

forts at Ticonderoga. 

19 September First battle at Freeman's farm. 
26 September Howe occupies Philadelphia. 

6 October General Sir Henry Clinton captures the 

American forts guarding the Hudson high- 

7 October Second battle at Freeman's farm. 

9 October Burgoyne's army arrives at Saratoga on its 

17 October Burgoyne surrenders at Saratoga. 

26 October Sir Henry Clinton returns to New York. 

8 November British destroy and evacuate the forts at 

British and German Troops 

The tables of organization laid down for the three parts of 
the British army operating in and from Canada for the cam- 
paign of 1777 are given in a letter of instruction, dated at 
Whitehall on 26 March of that year, from Lord George 
Gertnaine, Secretary of State for the American Colonies, to 
General Guy Carleton, Governor General of Canada. The 
detailed instructions provided for 3770 soldiers to remain in 
Canada, 675 soldiers plus "a sufficiency of Canadians and 
Indians" to go with Colonel Barry St. Leger to Albany via 
the Mohawk River, and 7173 British and German troops to 
be put under the command of Lieutenant General Burgoyne. 
In addition, Burgoyne was to have as many Canadians and 
Indians as might be thought necessary. Both St. Leger and 
Burgoyne were to be given complete artillery trains. Bur- 
goyne's force was also to include cadres of American Loyalist 
units to be recruited to full strength in the liberated province. 
St. Leger's force was to include Sir John Johnson's Loyalist 
regiment from the Mohawk Valley. 

There are several points that should be made about the 
different kinds of units and their components before pro- 
ceeding with the table of organization. 

In the eighteenth century it was customary to put the best 
soldiers of a regiment into a single elite company. Originally 


this company was armed with grenades. Though the weapon 
itself became obsolete, the assault and shock troops of a 
regiment continued to bear the name of grenadier company. 
The overarm motion used to throw a grenade was awkward 
for a man wearing a wide-brimmed tricorne hat, so special 
headgear was adopted by the grenadiers. This, with certain 
other minor deviations from the regular uniform, was carried 
over as a kind of remnant, though it formerly had served a 

For a particular campaign, the grenadier company of each 
of the regiments of the force was often removed from the 
command of the regimental colonel and all the grenadiers 
assembled as a separate command. Thus, Major Acland's 
"Grenadiers of Regiments" was made up of the grenadier 
companies of the seven British regiments of General Bur- 
goyne's army: the 9th, 20th, 21st, 24th, 47th, 53rd, and 62nd. 
To these were added the grenadier companies of three British 
regiments which remained in Canada under command of 
General Carleton: the 29th, 31st, and 34th. Ideally, the 
strength of a British company was fifty men, giving Acland 
a potential force of ten companies, or 500 soldiers. After re- 
moval of the grenadier company and, frequently, the light 
infantry company too, the line regiment was left with but 
eight companies, a total (in theory) of 400 men. In most 
instances, however, the actual number was somewhat less 
than full complement, though every effort was made to draft 
the most able men from the battalion companies into the 
grenadier and light infantry companies. 

When, in the mid-eighteenth century, a need for the em- 
ployment of ranger-type troops became apparent, the light 
infantry company of regiments was raised by gathering the 
youngest and most active men into a second elite corps. Like 
the grenadiers, this corps also wore a distinctive uniform. 
Burgoyne's light infantry of regiments, commanded by the 
Earl of Balcarres, was of the same strength and drawn from 
the same regiments as Adand's corps of grenadiers. 


Burgoyne's forces, including the Indians who joined after the 
expedition set out from St. Jean, numbered about 8000 of- 
ficers and men. They were organized, up to the time they 
quit Skenesborough at the end of July, as follows: 

I Lieutenant General John Burgoyne and Staff 

II Advance Corps 

Grenadiers of Regi- 

Light Infantry of 

24th Foot 




III British or Right Divi- 

1st Brigade 

20th Foot 
21st Foot 

62nd Foot 
2nd Brigade 
. 9th Foot 

Brigadier General Simon 

Major John Acland 

The Earl of Balcarres 

Major William Agnew; Major 
Robert Grant (killed at Hub- 
bardton) ; Colonel Fraser, 
Acting Brigadier General 

Captain Alexander Fraser 
St. Luc de la Corne and others 
De la Naudiere and others 

Major General William Phil- 

Brigadier General James 

Lieutenant Colonel John Lind 

Major Squire; Acting 

Brigadier General Hamilton 

Lieutenant Colonel John An- 

Brigadier General Henry W. 

Lieutenant Colonel John Hill 



47th Foot 
53rd Foot 

IV German or Left Division 
Brigade Specht 

Regiment von Rhetz 

Regiment von Specht 

Regiment von Riedesel 

Brigade von Call 

Regiment Prinz 
Friederich (Bruns- 

Regiment Erb-Prinz 

"Reserve" * 

Lieutenant Colonel Nicholas 

Lieutenant Colonel Powell, 
Acting Brigadier General 

Major General Baron Friede- 
rich von Riedesel 

Brigadier General Johann 
Friederich Specht 

Lieutenant Colonel Johann 
Gustav von Ehrenkroock 

Major Carl Friederich von 
Ehrenkroock; Acting Briga- 
dier General von Specht 

Lieutenant Colonel Ernst 
Ludwig von Spaeth; Major 
General von Riedesel 

Brigadier General W. R. von 

Lieutenant Colonel Christian 
Julius Praetorius 

Colonel W. R. von Gall, Act- 
ing Brigadier 

Colonel Heinrich Christoph 

* The German "Reserve" were, in effect, the storm troops of the 
German contingent, as was the advance corps of the British. The 
grenadiers of regiments were formed in the same way as Acland's 
grenadiers. However, as the German regiment was composed of 
five companies only, each with a hundred men, the five com- 
panies of Breymann's grenadiers were theoretically of the same 
numerical strength as their British counterpart. There were no 
light infantry companies of regiments in the German Establish- 


Grenadiers Colonel Heinrich Christoph 


Light Infantry Battal- Major Ferdinand Albrecht 
ion Earner von Earner 

Jager Company Captain von Geyso 


Prinz Ludwig Dra- Lieutenant Colonel Friede- 
goons (Brunswick) rich Baum 

Artillery Major Griffith Williams 


4 companies Royal Artillery 
Detachment Royal Irish Artillery 

Reinforcement draft of 33rd Foot, destined for 
their regiment with General Howe's annyj at- 
tached to Royal Artillery 

i company Captain Georg Pausch 

Hesse-Hanau Ar- 


Siege Train for siege of Fort Ticonderoga 128 
' guns cannon, howitzers, and mortars 

Guns attached to brigades 
Advance Corps 10 guns 

Hamilton's Bri- 4 guns 

; Powell's Brigade 4 guns 

German Brigades 4 guns 
German Reserve 4 guns 


After the fall of Fort Ticonderoga, the siege train of artil- 
lery became redundant and was left behind. The army 
marched off to the Hudson with but 27 guns, which by 
eighteenth-century standards was a strong complement for 
the number of soldiers. With the constant problem of se- 
curing horses and forage for them, this large train of guns, 
ammunition tumbrils, tool carts, etc., was a severe strain on 
Burgoyne's transportation system. 

On leaving Ticonderoga, General Burgoyne was forced to 
detach two regiments: the 62nd (later replaced by the 53rd) 
and the Brunswick Regiment Prinz Friederich as guards for 
that important rear link and focus point for the collection of 
supplies. Two companies of the 47th were left on Diamond 
Island in Lake George, serving a like purpose when the army 
severed its supply line to Canada in the march down the 
Hudson to Albany. 

Faced with the necessity of manning and maintaining the 
posts in his rear, and after the losses suffered at Bennington 
and by attrition, Burgoyne crossed the Hudson with approxi- 
mately 6000 men. The organization of the army was altered 
to fit the reduced size and the anticipated employment and 
deployment of the troops. At the time of the two battles of 
Freeman's farm, Burgoyne's army was brigaded as follows: 

Advance Corps: Marksmen, Canadians, Loyalists, Indians, 
Grenadiers, Light Infantry, 24th Foot, Breymann's Corps 
(Grenadiers and Earner's Light Troops), Attached artilleiy 
(10 guns varying). 

Right Wing (Brigadier General Hamilton) : 9th Foot, 20th 
Foot, 21st Foot, 62nd Foot, Attached artillery (4 guns). 

Left Wing (Major General Riedesel): Regiment Rhetz, 
Regiment Specht, Regiment Riedesel, Regiment Hesse-Hanau, 
Attached artillery (8 guns). 

Rear Echelon: Brunswick Dragoons (remnant as head- 
quarters guard), 47th Foot (6 companies), Gun Park. 

Major General Phillips was second in command to General 
Burgoyne, and in that capacity he took over the supervision 


of supplies and services while the army was gathering its 
resources at Fort Edward for the drive to Albany. 

The staff appointments at the army level were many and 
extraordinary : 

Adjutant General Lieutenant Colonel Robert Kingston 

Deputy Quartermaster Captain John Money 


Royal Artillery Captain Thomas Bloomfield 

Chief Engineer Lieutenant William Twiss 

Commissary Mr. Rousseau 

Wagonmaster Mr. Robert Hoakesly 

Provost Lieutenant Atherton 

Department of Civil Colonel Philip Skene 


Naval Engineer Ad- Lieutenant John Schank, Royal Navy 


Captain of Bateaux Mr. Munro, Royal Navy 

Pioneers Captain Wilcox 

Paymaster Mr. David Geddes 

Surgeon of Hospitals 

Almost all of these departments had assistants and depu- 
ties, and certain of them, such as quartermasters, commis- 
saries, surgeons, and paymasters, had their counterpart at 
brigade and regimental levels. The chaplains were attached 
to regiments. Drummers were carried on the rolls of their 
regiments, distinct from the musicians of the regimental 
bands. The former were in effect the signal corps, as they 
beat the various calls and duties of the camp, as well as 
giving the pace on the march and in battle. Valets and bat- 
men were also on the regimental lists, as were soldiers* wives, 
who served as washer-women and hospital attendants, and 
who had other specific duties for which they received rations. 

The final returns of General Burgoyne's brave army at 
the signing of the "Convention,** 17 October 1777 showed a 
total of 4693 men who entered into the long captivity. 

The American Army 

General George Washington was the commander in chief of 
the American army. He was also field commander of the 
army fighting the British commander in chief, Sir William 

In the snmmer of 1775, in acknowledgment of the threat 
of the Hudson-Champlain Pass and the classic scheme of 
slicing in two the Atlantic Colonies along that geographic 
fault, Washington created the northern department of the 
army, command of which was given to Major General Philip 
Schuyler. It was Schuyler who met the first advance of Bur- 
goyne's invasion in July and August 1777, and it was he who 
'was responsible for the action of his subordinate, Major 
General Arthur Sinclair, who, with a force of two thousand 
Continentals, three hundred artillerymen, and about five 
hundred militia, abandoned the forts at Ticonderoga at the 
threat of siege by Burgoyne's eight thousand troops and 
heavy guns. The troops were saved. During Schuyler's rear- 
guard action, the American army was rebuilt in strength and 
numbers. However, the loss of the forts at Ticonderoga, sym- 
bol of rebel strength, resulted in such a scandal in the Con- 
gress that Major General Horatio Gates was appointed to 
replace General Schuyler and was given almost dictatorial 
power. Gates assumed command on 19 August 1777. 

The American army had two kinds of troops: first, the 


Continentals, who in effect were regular army troops, sup- 
plied by regiments from the individual colonies to the Con- 
tinental Congress and to George Washington, its general, 
and, second, the militia, who were state or colony troops. 
The latter were held in their respective states for local de- 
fense, or were called out in a defensive role for a specific 
purpose and for a limited time. In the case of the New 
England militia at Saratoga, they were on an offensive-de- 
fensive mission outside their home states. 

Gates took over command of approximately three thousand 
Continentals and three to four hundred militia on active 
duty. Between 19 August and the Convention of Saratoga, 
17 October 1777, Gates's army grew to almost six thousand 
Continentals and an undetermined number of militia, esti- 
mated variously at from twelve hundred to three thousand 
men. At the time of the surrender at Saratoga, the militia 
was still pouring in to join the army facing Burgoyne. 

The hard core of Gates's army was made up of the Con- 
tinentals. At the first battle of Freeman's farm, they were 
organized into two wings, of which the right was commanded 
by Major General Benjamin Lincoln; the left was under the 
command of General Benedict Arnold. Gates had five briga- 
diers of Continentals.* They were, according to seniority: 
John Nixon, Enoch Poor, John Glover, John Paterson, and 
Ebenezer Learned. 

The Continental regiments of Gates's army at the time of 
Burgoyne's surrender at Saratoga were as follows: 

llth Virginia Regiment (known as Morgan's Regiment of 

Dearborn's Light Infantry Battalion (under command of 
Morgan's Regiment) 

* Brigadier General John Stark Held a New Hampshire commis- 
sion at the time. His Continental commission, an award for his 
victory at Bennington in August 1777, was not promulgated until 
4 October, so he was unaware of it at the time of the second 
battle of Freeman's farm. 


1st New Hampshire Regi- Colonel Joseph Cilley 

2nd New Hampshire Regi- Colonel Nathan Hale 

3rd New Hampshire Regi- Colonel Alexander Scammel 

2nd New York Regiment Colonel Philip van Cortlandt 
4th New York Regiment Colonel Henry Livingston 

Livingston's New York Colonel James Livingston 
Regiment (formerly 1st 

1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, llth, 12th, 
13th, 14th and 15th Massachusetts Regiments 

Warner's Vermont Regiment (The Green Mountain Boys) 
Ebenezer Stevens's Independent Battalion of Artillery 

Jeduthan Baldwin's Detachment of Engineers and Arti- 

Hyde's Continental Light Horse 
Seymour's Troop, 2nd Dragoons 

The militia was supplied for Connecticut, Massachusetts, 
New Hampshire, and New York, and for Vermont, a quasi- 
autonomous territory. The designation of a militia regiment 
was hy the name of its colonel or the county in which it 
had heen raised. The National Park Service has listed fifty- 
three militia units which either took part in the battles at 
Saratoga or were present at Burgoyne's surrender. Generally 
speaking, the militia regiments were brigaded together by 
states, which gave a great disparity in numbers between the 
various brigade strengths. Thus, Stark's New Hampshire bri- 
gade at the close of the campaign was eight hundred strong, 
while Ten Broeck commanded three thousand New Yorkers. 


Three brigadier generals of the militia, with their troops, 
took an active part in the Burgoyne campaign: John Stark 
(New Hampshire), John Fellows (Massachusetts), Abram 
Ten Broeck (New York). 

Two Connecticut militia regiments, those of Colonel Jona- 
than Lattimer and Thaddeus Cook, were engaged with Poor's 
brigade of Benedict Arnold's division. 

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Acland, Lady Harriet, 7, 64, 
175, 176, 200, 258 

Acland, Maj. John, 7, 41, 42, 
43, 64, 175, 1/6, 222, 225, 
229, 230, 231, 232, 233, 
239, 241, 248, 271 

Allen, Ethan, 31 

Allen, John, 75, 76, 77, 80, 

Amherst, Gen. Jeffrey, 16, 29 

Anburey, Lieut. Thomas, 
151, 162, 163, 182, 183, 

184, 201, 202, 221 

Anstruther, Col. John, 188, 
191, 193, 198 

Armstrong, Maj. John, 241, 

Arnold, Gen. Benedict, 4, 5, 
6, 48, 72, 77, 108, no, 
139, 140, 142, 143, 157, 
158, 164, 165, 166, 167, 
168, 171, 177, 194, 203, 
204, 205, 206, 216, 217, 
218, 228, 229, 239, 240, 

241, 242, 244, 245, 246, 
247, 254, 260 
Aubrey, Capt. Thomas, 95 

Baker, Albert, 82 
Balcarres, Maj. the Earl of, 
28, 42, 43, 208, 212, 216, 

221, 231, 232, 237, 242, 

243, 244, 247, 248, 249, 
250, 256, 259 

Baldwin, Ezekiel, 72 

Barner, Maj. Ferdinand von, 
38, 100, 103, 106, 128, 
129, 130, 133, 134, 151 

Baum, Col. Frederick, 63, 99, 
100, 101, 102, 104, 106, 
107, 111, 112, 113, 114, 

115, Il6, Il8, 120, 121, 
122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 
128, 134, 144, 148, 149 

Blomfield, Maj. Thomas, 221 
Bock, Lieut, 100, 113 
Braddock, Gen. Edward, 70, 



Brandt, Joseph (Thay-en-da- 
ne-gea), 155 

Breyman, Col. Heinrich, 101, 
116, 117, 118, 127, 128, 
129, 131, 132, 133, 134, 
135, M4, 148, 149, 151, 

178, 180, 208, 222, 244, 
245, 246, 247, 249 

Brooks, Lieut. Col. John, 245 
Brown, Col. John, 210 
Brudenel, Chaplain Edward, 
255, 258 

Campbell, Capt. Alexander, 

Carleton, Gen. Sir Guy, 4, 5, 
6, 9, 11, 13, 14, 15 ? 16, 17, 
22, 24, 73, 86, 91, 92, 108, 

165, 177 
Carter, Capt. John, 59, 178, 

Cilley, Col. Joseph, 205, 229, 

230, 231 
Clarke, Lieut. Sir Francis 

Carr, 160, 220, 232, 233, 


Dearborn, Maj. Henry, 168* 

Clinton, Gen. Sir Henry, 10, 

15, 92, 93, MS, 146, 147, 
157, 165, 202, 203, 207, 
209, 211, 213, 215, 219, 
264, 267, 268, 276 
Clive, Rohert (Lord), 12, 72 
Cromer, Jane, 52, 53, 56, 57, 

Digby, Lieut. William, 69, 
223, 225, 226, 248, 249, 

Don, Lieut. John, 183 

Du Fais, Lieut., 222 

Duer, Lady Kitty, 72 

Duer, Capt. William, 72, 101 

"Duluth," 79, 80, 81, 82 

Dunbar, Lieut, 183, 184 

Edgerton, Eleazer, 105, 106 

Fellows, Gen. John, 217, 218, 
257, 258, 259, 260, 265 

Forbes, Maj. Gordon, 184, 

Francis, Col. Ebenezer, 43 

Fraser, Capt. Alexander, 33, 
34, 69, 86, 87, 88, 100, 
104, 113, 123, 176, 211, 
231, 255, 256, 258, 272 

Fraser, Gen. Simon, 19, 20, 
aa, *8, 33, 35, 36, 37, 38, 
40, 42, 43, 59, 61, 68, 72, 
77, 78, 81, 84, 85, 87, 102, 
150, 163, 178, 180, 182, 
184, 185, 190, 194, 199, 

212, 213, 214, 221, 222, 

*37, ^38, 240, 241, 251, 

*53, 255 

Freeman, Fanner, 170, 172, 

Furnival, Capt, 228 



Gage, Gen. Thomas, 10 
Gall, Gen. W. R. von, 264 
Gansevoort, Col. Peter, 268 
Gates, Gen. Horatio, 6, 31, 
72, 108, 138, 140, 141, 
142, 143, 156, 157, 164, 
165, 166, 167, 168, 169, 
170, 171, 172, 173, 177, 
202, 203, 204, 205, 206, 
207, 213, 216, 217, 218, 

219, 226, 228, 229, 239, 
241, 247, 253, 254, 255, 
259, 260, 266, 267, 268, 
271, 276 

Geismar, Capt, 182, 194, 

195, 262 
George III, 22, 24, 26, 45, 

50, 275 
Germaine, Lord George, 16, 

90, 91, 92, 144, 275 
Geyso, Capt von, 100, 151 
Glover, Gen. John, 171, 254, 


Grant, Maj. Robert, 39 
Green, Capt. Charles, 190, 

220, 262 

Hadden, Lieut James, 21, 

22, 95, 189, 191, 19*, 193, 

194, 196, 198, 199 
Hale, Col. Nathan, 39, 40, 

Hamilton, Gen. James, 94, 

163, 178, 191, 258, 264 

Hannemann, Lieut, 151, 

IS*, 154 

Harnage, Maj. Henry, 257 
Harnage, Mrs. Henry, 64, 

200, 257, 262 
Herkimer, Nichoks, 139, 

216, 241 
Herrick, Col. Samuel, 119, 

120, 121, 123, 124, 128 
Hill, Lieut. Col. John, 45, 46, 

47, 48, 49, 50, 52, 53,. 54, 

56, 61, 272 
Hoakesly, Robert, 62 
Houston, Col., 67 
Howe, Gen. Sir William, 10, 

15, 16, 88, 89, 90, 91, 9^, 

93, 109, 144, 145, 158, 

214, 275, 276 
Hubbard (Hobart), Col. 

David, 119, 122 
Hunter, Polly, 79, 80, 81, 82 

Jessup, Lieut. Col. Ebenezer, 

6 7 

Jessup, Capt Edward, 67 
Jones, Lieut. David, 69, 72, 

73, 78, 79 

Jones, Capt. Thomas, 95, 
161, 164, 178, 182, 185, 
189, 192, 193, 194, 214 

Kilmore, George, 75, 76 
Kingston, Lieut Col. Robert, 
93, 186, 188, 266 



Kosciusko, Gen. Thaddeus, 

Lamb, Sgt. Robert, 52, 53, 
54, 55, 56, 57, 64, 65, 66 

Langkde, Charles de, 70, 
74, 78, 85, 86 

Lansing, Peter, 260, 261 

Learned, Ebenezer, 139, 167, 
172, 194, 205, 228, 229, 
*34> *35, ^39, 240, 241, 

"Le Loup," 74, 75, 77, 80, 
81, 82, 84, 85 

Ligonier, Gen. Edward, 
Viscount, 45 

Lincoln, Gen. Benjamin, 77, 
no, in, 140, 167, 172, 
210, 216, 228, 229, 253, 


Lind, Lieut. Col. John, 47 
Long, Col. Pierce, 50, 51, 53, 


Louis XVI, 273, 274 
Lutwidge, Capt. Skeffington, 


McAlpin, Maj. Daniel, 67 
McArthur, Duncan, 73, 74, 


McCrea, Jane ("Jennie"), 
78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 
85, 116, 125, 139, 172 
McKay, Lieut., 234 
McKay, Samuel, 9, 10 
McLane, Lieut., 228 

McNeil, Mrs. Sarah Fraser, 

72, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 84 
Maibon, Maj. Christoph von, 

Mattoon, Lieut. Ebenezer, 

227, 228, 229, 234, 235 
Melsheimer, Pastor, 103 
Money, Capt. John, 93, 220, 

Montgomery, Gen. Richard, 

Montgomery, Capt. William, 

54, 55 

Morgan, Col. Daniel, 4, 5, 
164, 167, 168, 169, 172, 
173, 177, 184, 185, 194, 
199, 204, 205, 229, 231, 
232, ^36, 240, 241, 245, 
254, 259, 260, 261, 265, 

Munro, Capt. Hugh, 67 

Murphy, "Tim," 240 

Naudiere, Capt. de la, 8, 

100, 101, 114, 148 
Neilson, John, 170, 171 
Nichols, Col. Moses, 119, 

120, 121, 124 
Nixon, Gen. John, 77, 139, 

171, 259 

Paterson, Gen. John, 171, 

Pausch, Capt. George, 178, 
179, 180, 181, 182, 195, 



, 219, 222, 232, 233, 

*34> 235, 236, 230 
Peters, Lieut. Col. John, 67, 

100, 101 
Petersham, Capt (Lord), 

220, 226 

Pfister, Col. Francis, 67, 100 

Phillips, Gen. William, 9, 18, 

22, 24, 33, 34, 36, 61, 101, 

102, 137, 161, 163, 178, 

190, 192, 196, 197, 213, 

214, 220, 221, 226, 227, 
255, 264, 268 

Poor, Gen. Enoch, 171, 194, 
205, 217, 229, 231, 232, 

Powell, Gen. Henry W., 45, 

94, 95, 156, 210, 276 
Praetorius, Col. Julius, 94 
Putnam, Gen. Israel, 91, 219 

Reid, Lieut., 189, 193 
Reynell, Mrs. Anne 

(Reynolds), 64, 201, 262 
Reynell, Lieut. Thomas, 201 
Riedesel, Augusta von, 136 
Riedesel, Caroline von, 136 
Riedesel, Gen. Baron 
Friederich von, 5, 9, 19, 
22, 23, 24, 32, 34, 35, 36, 
37, 38, 4*, 59, 61, 62, 63, 
64, 69, 96, 101, 102, 112, 
116, 137, 153, 162, 163, 
178, 179, 180, 181, 182, 
190, 192, 194, 195, 196, 

207, 213, 214, 221, 255, 

256, 257, 263, 264, 268 

Riedesel, Baroness Friederika 

von, 23, 136, 137, 158, 

163, 200, 201, 209, 221, 
238, 251, 256, 26l, 262 

Riedesel, Friederika von, 136 
Rogers, Maj. Robert, 107, 

St. Clair, Gen. Arthur, 31, 
32, 35, 40, 46, 65, 66, 77, 

138, 143, 144, 166 

St. Leger, Col. Barry, 8, 9, 
15, 16, 17, 65, 88, 94, no, 

139, 155, 157, 1S8, 167, 

St. Luc de la Come, Louis, 

8, 26, 27, 70, 77, 84, 85, 

Salans, Lieut. Baron 

Alexander, 88, 123 
Scammel, Col. Alexander, 

Schank, Lieut. John, 21, 150, 

152, 153, 158, 160, 161, 


Sdhiek, Capt, 113 
Schuyler, Katherine Van 

Rensselaer, 163 
Schuyler, Gen. Philip, 31, 56, 

65, 66, 67, 69, 71, 77, 91, 

108, 109, no, 111, 138, 

139, 142, 143, 144, 162, 

164, 165, 167, 169, 206, 
218, 253, 258 



Scott, Lieut. Thomas, 87, 88, 


Sherwood, Capt., 103 
Shrimpton, Capt, John, 43 
Simpson, Capt., 231 
Skene, Alexander, 88 
Skene, Maj. (Col.) Philip, 

48, 58, 59, 60, 61, 66, 70, 

71, 96, 100, 118, 121, 127, 

128, 129, 130, 131, 133 
Smith, Lieut. William, 233 
Smythe, Dr. James, 72 
Spaeth, Col. Ernst Ludwig 

von, 195, 222, 234 
Spangenberg, Lieut., 117, 

127, 130, 133, 135 
Specht, Gen. Johan 

Friederich von, 153, 158 
Squier, Ephraim, 247, 248 
Stark, Elizabeth ("Molly"), 

108, 109, no, 111, 124 
Stark, Gen. John, 107, 108, 

109, no, 115, 116, 118, 

119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 
125, 126, 132, 134, 136, 
140, 143, 156, 167, 2l6, 

Stickney, Col. Thomas, 119 
Stormont, Viscount, 273, 274 
Strangways, Capt. Stephen, 


Sutherland, Col. Nicholas, 

Ten Broeck, Gen. Abram, 

218 241, 245 
Tommo, "Captain/' see "Le 

Twiss, Lieut. William, 34, 67 

Van Rensselaer, Col. Henry, 

50, 51, 54, 66 
Van Vechten, Lieut, 80, 81, 

Vergennes, Charles Gravier, 

Comte de, 273, 274, 275 

Walker, Capt Ellis, 178, 182 
Warner, Col. Seth, 42, 63, 

102, 105, 109, 116, 120, 

126, 132, 134, 135 
Washington, Gen. George, 

31, 91, 108, 109, no, 141, 

142, 145, 164, 167, 206, 

Westroop, Lieut. Richard, 53 
Wight, Capt, 225, 226, 248 
Wilkinson, Col. James, 35, 

143, 166, 205, 254, 260, 
266, 270, 271 

Williams, Maj. Griffith, 34, 
178, 179, 190, 209, 219, 
220, 228, 231, 232, 233, 

Swearingham, Capt, 184 

Willoe, Capt, 192, 194, 195, 

Wolfe, Gen. James, 32, 148